Thursday, April 18, 2013

A June Gem: Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing

If you enjoy travel, reading top notch writers, and beautiful settings then Immrama, the Lismore Festival of Travel Writing is a must do. I am very excited about this year's programme- and I bet you will be too! 

The  days of the 13th-16th of June 2013 will be filled with talks & readings from international authors, as well as a workshop on e-publishing (I'm certainly going to try to get my nose into that!) Here's some of the scoop from the launch:

One of the world’s most highly-regarded travel writers, Paul Theroux will take to the stage at Immrama on Saturday, June 15 at 3pm. Perhaps best known for Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and The Great Railway Bazaar, his most recent work is The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari.

Paul Theroux’s highly acclaimed novels include Blinding Light, Hotel Honolulu, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, and The Mosquito Coast. Also among his travel books are: Dark Star Safari, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Old Patagonian Express, and The Happy Isles of Oceania. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod and is the father of British authors and documentary makers Louis and Marcel Theroux.

 (On a side note, if you are on Twitter, you may enjoy #travelbookclub each month. Last month Paul Theroux's Ghost Train To The Eastern Star was read and this month's read will be Eric Newby's A Small Place In Italy. Join in 1 May 9pm GMT! More info on #travelbookclub here. )

Later on June 15, British writer, journalist and broadcaster, Simon Winchester OBE, will speak about his work and travel experiences. Having traveled to Canada and the US before university and Greenland while a student at Oxford, Simon worked for a time as a geologist in Uganda before becoming a journalist – a move he attributes to having read work by Lismore Immrama regular Jan Morris.

He worked as Northern Ireland correspondent for The Guardian newspaper during some of the early and most turbulent years of the Troubles, covering the introduction of internment; Bloody Sunday and Operation Motorman. He was Britain’s Journalist of the Year in 1971 and his time in Northern Ireland was the basis for his first book, In Holy Terror. The following year saw him move to Washington DC as US Correspondent and he also later worked as India Correspondent for The Guardian.

He was Chief Foreign Feature Writer with the Sunday Times and was on the Falkland Islands when they were invaded by Argentina – later spending three months in an Argentine jail. He later worked as Asia Editor with Conde Nast Traveler. In 1998, he had an unexpected international publishing success with The Professor and the Madman. The most recent of his 22 books are The Man Who Loved China; Atlantic: A Biography of the Ocean and The Alice Behind Wonderland.

Also joining the two keynote speakers is bestselling writer and award-winning broadcaster Charlie Connelly whose books include Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round The Shipping Forecast; In Search of Elvis and Our Man in Hibernia: Ireland, the Irish and Me. His most recent work Bring Me Sunshine deals with the perennial conversation topic of weather.

Opening the festival on Thursday, June 13 are Irish writers Theresa McDonnell, author of What have you got in your bag? featuring her stories as an aid worker; Monica Corish who spent many years travelling and working in Africa from 1983 to 2006 and Kieran Heffernan who has contributed to numerous books and magazines.

On Friday, June 14, Liz Davies and Hilary Linstead who co-wrote ‘Growing old outrageously’ will entertain festival-goers. Hilary and Liz were old school friends living on opposite sides of the world when suddenly after 35 years they reconnected and have since journeyed together to create a comical travel book. 
(I don't know about you, but I love their book's cover.)

On the morning of June 15, Donald Brady will discuss the ‘Watercolor Society of Ireland’, which was founded in Lismore in 1870. John Dwyer will host a workshop on E-publishing and Rachel Finnegan will host a reading at St Carthage’s Cathedral discussing her publications of the travel correspondence of two 18th century travellers Dr Richard Pococke (later Bishop of Ossory & Meath) and his cousin Jeremiah Milles (later Dean of Exeter), who both began their clerical careers in the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore under the patronage of their uncle, Bishop Thomas Milles.

And bringing the festival to a close on Sunday evening, June 16, are two writers originally from Lismore. John O’Keeffe who left Lismore in his teens to take his own journey around the world will discuss his book ‘Down the Deerpark Road, Outside Lismore’. John will be joined by Rosamund Burton also from Lismore who will discuss her book ‘Castle, Follies and Four-Leaf Clovers’.
Also, do mark your calendars for this:

A pre-Immrama Festival event has also been announced for May 19 international travel writer Michael Shapeiro will host an evening at Lismore Courthouse Theatre discussing his latest book ‘A Sense of Place’ which sees Michael interview some of the most famous travel writers in the world including many whom he met at Immrama, including Jan Morris, Pico Iyer and Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Full details of the schedule and Saturday Special tickets for the Immrama Lismore Festival of Travel Writing 2013 are now available online at or by calling (058) 53803.
                See You in lovely Lismore, county Waterford!


  1. Great post Susan. Looking forward to seeing you in lovely Lismore too :)

    1. Thanks Ann, I'm looking forward to going, especially as I missed last year. I got down for a day in 2011 and it was a great buzz- very inspiring for travelers and writers.


Have a comment, or tip about Ireland of your own? Please share it here :-) Thanks!