Our Story

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Welcome to Tertulia

Tertulia (what is it?) 

Tertulia is a Spanish word for a circle of people who meet regularly to discuss literature, art, what’s going on in the world or just to gossip!

We all want to feel part of something and we envisage Tertulia as a space to reach out to people, provide a forum for stretching our assumptions about the world, enjoy a coffee, a glass of wine, a conversation, or lose yourself in a really great book.

Here is a little about us & our adventures! 


Co-owner Neil Paul, born in London, of Irish parents, brought up in Pimlico, around the corner from the Houses of Parliament.  As a child Neil played in (the grounds of) Buckingham Palace with the servants’ children who went to the same school.  Neil’s fascination with books began from about 13 when he discovered Science Fiction and Fantasy.  After leaving school, Neil’s other passions, photography and travel competed with his love of books but this has been a constant in his life nevertheless.   During the punk explosion in London, Neil attended at least three concerts a week, seeing all the up and coming bands, taking photographs whenever he could of bands like the Stranglers and the Clash.  These he developed while working as a trainee dark room assistant (not a job we see advertised much these days).  In between times, Neil took himself off to  a kibbutz in Israel, taking the “Magic Bus”, or as Neil refers to it as the Tragic Bus, travelling three days and three nights non-stop across Europe.  Neil also spent three years in California working in many jobs including in Hollywood, working on the TV series “Moonlighting” staring Bruce Willis.


Co-owner Brid Conroy, born in Dublin city centre, also of Irish parents, developed a love of books from early on.  Brid’s grandmother sent her on twice weekly visits to Capel St Library to seek out any Mills and Boons books her Nanna hadn’t yet read (Her Nanna left a small red dot on the inside cover of those she had read!).  When Brid herself had read all the children’s books they had in the library, she too started to read the Mills and Boons books (from about the age of 9) and has been a hopeless romantic every since.  In 1987, like many of Brid’s peers at that time, went to seek fame and fortune in London.  Brid worked as Financial Controller for Ogilvy and Mather, Advertising Agency, where she got invited to a party at which Neil was in attendance.  So whatever about fame and fortune, she met Neil, her future husband.  At the time Brid had just qualified as an accountant and they both decided to take off on a round the world ticket for a year.

Naming of our daughter

Neil loves movies as well as music, books and photography.  When I moved in with him to his bachelor pad in Pimlico London, there was a poster hanging in the front room of a movie called, ”Rumble Fish”.  It’s a Francis Ford Coppola kind of cult movie staring Matt Dillon as the main character called “Rusty James”.   It’s filmed in black and white with just his fish in colour.  That poster became the backdrop of our new shared life together so when I became pregnant, the name of our child was without a doubt to be Rusty James, whether it be a boy or a girl.  Our daughter now calls herself Rusty but we still call her Rusty James.

Accony School Reunion 

In 2009, we hosted a school reunion for all the past pupils of the villages of Accony, Emlagh, Doughmakeon and Askillaun, County Mayo.  450  attended a Mass on the day in the school yard.  From our back door, overlooking the sea, from the “Girls” entrance, I watched the past pupils retrace their steps from the villages they came from.  We are so privileged to be part of this amazing community.

Masters in Philosophy

Philosophy is about conversation, exploration and experimentation (with ideas) and in general, an effort to achieve greater understanding of whatever topic is under discussion. Philosophy Foundation
It’s corny I know but I have always wanted “world peace”.  Since an early age, in between reading Mills and Boons, I sought to understand the meaning of life. So, three years ago, I undertook a Masters in Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin, focusing on International Peace Studies.  What a joy, to take time from my normal life, and study the conditions of war and peace in our world, to meet amazing like-minded people, to have the shelves of Trinity Library at my disposal, to stretch and challenge what I know about this world.  We are what we think are, and what we think today is what will make our tomorrow.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle

Tertulia Philosophy Favourites