17 January 2024, The Tablet

The lady on the bike

by Trevor Mostyn

The lady on the bike

Dervla Murphy and her mode of transport


Life at Full Tilt: The Selected
Writings of Dervla Murphy
tablet bookshop price £22.50 • tel 020 7799 4064

Hardship came easily to the Irish travel writer Dervla Murphy. “Her spartan travelling placed her beyond the reach of the tourism she hated,” writes Colin Thubron in his introduction to Life at Full Tilt. The book covers descriptions of her 1965 masterpiece Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, her travels over the Peruvian altiplano, travelling on her beloved bicycle Roz in South and East Africa and, most recently, the journeys she made, aged 77, to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. She describes in her book Between River and Sea the sickening stench of white phosphorous shells and the horrifying burns they caused.


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