Wheels within Wheels : The Makings of a Traveller, Paperback Book

Wheels within Wheels : The Makings of a Traveller Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Dervla Murphy begins her autobiography in Lismore, Co Waterford.

Her father was the county librarian and her mother a chronic invalid.

She portrays the strain that her mother's increasing illness had on the family.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Eland Publishing Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Autobiography: general
  • ISBN: 9781906011406

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I've had a few of Dervla Murphy's travel books for some years and never got around to reading them. There was something about an Irish woman riding around the world on a bicycle that seemed a little too contrived for my taste. Having read this searing (perhaps the best word) autobiography of her growing up (and older) in Ireland while looking after her crippled mother I have a better appreciation of where she's coming from - or came from which is the point of her title. And yes, wheels within wheels indeed. This is a brilliant story of growing up in Ireland, of childhood, and of families, politics and religion. Most of all, although this might just be my take on it, she comes across as tremendously likable and interesting, even more so for having so many human failings and for having the honesty to talk about them. This would be perfectly paired with Edna O'Brien's stories of growing up in Ireland in much the same period. Highly recommended.

Review by

Last year I read Murphy's wonderful account of her famous 1963 bicycle journey from Ireland to India (<i>Full tilt</i>), and decided that I would have to read more of her books: this one is an autobiography covering her life up to the point where she sets off to India. In part it's a charming account of growing up in an eccentric family in a small Irish town in the thirties and forties, but there is also quite a bit about the political, social and religious complexities of Irish life. In the later part of the book, Murphy gives us a rather harrowing account of the difficult situation she found herself in having to care for her invalid mother for many years, and the way this stressful situation hurt both of them.

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