Billy Keane

Billy KeaneBilly Keane is a journalist, broadcaster, and barman. Billy wrote a column for the Irish Independent for the 21 years. His travels with Munster defined the glory years and were full of mischief and fun. Keane has appeared on most television shows ranging from the Late Late Show on several occasions, Primetime which was screened live from his pub, to 3 seasons of the Today Show with Daithi and Maura. He is equally at home on the radio. Billy has written two novels. His latest The Ballad of Mo and G was described by Donal Ryan as “heartbreak and comedy, tenderness and savagery meld into a beautiful, mad narrative delivered in a voice that’s completely real. I could not put it down.”

Billy has two collections of newspaper pieces and two sportsbooks with Billy Morgan and Moss Keane.

He was awarded the United States IBAM award for literature alongside his late father John B Keane in 2019.

Billy takes a humorous view of life but his prose is often poignant and searingly honest.

His latest novel The Woman Who Hasn’t Had Sex in 39 years will be published in February 2023.

Twitter: @billykeane15

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel Ralph Riegel is the southern correspondent for Independent Newspapers, Ireland’s biggest newspaper group, covering the region for the ‘Irish Independent’, ‘Sunday Independent,’ ‘Evening Herald’ and A graduate of DIT-Rathmines and DIT-Aungier Street, his work has also featured in ‘The (London) Independent’, ‘The Daily Telegraph’, ‘The Belfast Telegraph’, and ‘The Cork Examiner’ while he is a regular contributor to RTE, Virgin Media, BBC, Channel 4 and Newstalk.

He is the author of ten books – five were bestsellers including the No 1 best-seller ‘My Brother Jason’ with Gill Books which featured in TV documentaries with CBS in the US and Virgin Media in Ireland. His book ‘Commando’, was the focus of a Sky TV documentary while ‘Hidden Soldier’ inspired the RTE series, ‘Hostile Environment’ with actor Liam Cunningham.

A native of Kilworth, he lives in Fermoy, Co. Cork with his wife, Mary, and three children. He has also served as the external examiner for the Journalism Masters degree course at MTU.

Twitter: @ralphriegel

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Charlie Piggott

Charlie PiggottCharlie Piggott, was one of the founding members of De Dannan, with whom he toured extensively in Europe, Canada, and the US and has recorded several albums. He also lectures and has a wide knowledge of traditional music and musicians. He is a co-author, with Fintan Valtey and photographer Nutan Jacques Prapez, of Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians. Recently, Charlie re-released The New Road (with Gerry Harrington).

Web Site:

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Thom Breathnach

Thom Breathnach Travel WriterThom Breathnach is an award-winning travel writer from Cork specialising in the areas of sustainable travel, slow tourism, and wildlife. A language graduate with a grá for galavanting, he began travel writing while working for a non-profit in South Africa and have been on the road since. For the last ten years, Thom has been living and travelling across the world working as a travel contributor for titles such as The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, The Irish Independent, Cara magazine and he is the current Travel Editor The Irish Examiner. He also regularly features as a contributor to Virgin Media’s Ireland Am as well as RTÉ’s Today Show.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Rosita Boland

Rosita Boland is Senior Features Writer at the Irish Times. She won Journalist of the Year at the Newsbrands Ireland 2018 journalism awards. In 2009, she was a Nieman Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. She is widely travelled. Her book of essays, Elsewhere; one woman, one rucksack, one lifetime of travel, is published by Doubleday in May 2019.

Sarah Outen

Sarah OutenSarah Outen has spent the last decade wandering the world on some hefty journeys. She has traversed oceans alone in tiny rowing boats, spending months in solitude; she has biked continents in extreme seasons and kayaked remote island chains. All for the love of it – for learning, connecting, finding wildness and wilderness, challenge and joy. Sarah has written two books ‘A Dip in the Ocean‘ and ‘Dare to Do‘ and her film ‘Home’ of her London2London:Via the World journey releases this year.

Twitter: @SarahOuten


Charlie Piggott

Charlie PiggottFrom Cobh, Co. Cork of West Kerry parents, Charlie Piggott was one of the founding members of the renowned music group De Danann with whom he has recorded and toured extensively, performing in notable venues such as Carnegie Hall (NY), The Royal Albert Hall (London), The Great American Music Hall (San Francisco) and for The Crown Prince and Princess of Japan during their visit to Ireland. He was also a member of the Irish musical group invited by the Smithsonian Institute to participate in the Festival of American Folk Life (1976) as part of the USA bi-centennial celebrations. Charlie has established a considerable reputation as a lecturer, with a wide knowledge of traditional music and musicians. He plays a Double-Ray Hohner accordion and has revived many rare traditional melodies, performing them in accordance with the ethos of the older players. He is a co-author, with Fintan Vallely and photographer Nutan Jacques Piraprez of, Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians (Dublin: Town House, 1998).

Neil Oliver

Neil Oliver Neil Oliver is a Scottish archaeologist, historian, broadcaster and writer.

Neil qualified as an archaeologist in 1988. His fieldwork experience covers everything from the early Stone Age in Scotland to the examination of the World War II coastal fortifications of Kent and Northern France. Neil also trained as a journalist, and worked on publications such as The Scotsman, The Herald, The Guardian, The Edinburgh Evening News and The Daily Record, providing invaluable experience for when, in 2002, his career as a television broadcaster began.

He is widely known for presenting the award-winning multi-part documentary BBC2 series, Coast – looking at both the natural and social history of the British coastline – along with a whole host of other much-loved programmes including the BBC’s flagship series A History of Scotland and Vikings (BBC2).

He is the author of a number of bestselling books – his most recent, The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places Before is a beautifully written, kaleidoscopic history of a place with a story like no other.

He lives in Stirling with his wife and three children.

Lerato Mogoatlhe

Lerato MogoatlheLerato Mogoatlhe is a journalist and editor who has been writing about Africa for more than 10 years. Vagabond is a result of her deep-seated love for Africa and my conviction that whatever else this continent is, it’s firstly and most importantly home: I have to know it intimately and write it beyond stereotypes of doom and gloom.

Vagabond: wandering through Africa on faith is about how a three-month trip to West Africa turns into living and travelling around the continent for five years. It spans her experiences in 21 countries.

Lerato curates

Michael Whelan

Michael Whelan is a lifelong adventurer and mountaineer. He recently completed solo cycling trips in Pakistan, China, India and Nepal. In 2017 Michael was a contributing author to “The Wave” which was launched at the Irish Writers Centre, Dublin. His chapter “Borderline” is a snapshot of his journey by bicycle from Islamabad, (with armed escorts!), to the world’s highest border crossing on the Karakoram Highway and onto Shipton’s Lost Arch in Western China. Borderline will be the focus of his Immrama talk.

While not travelling, Michael lives in Dunmore East Co Waterford with his wife and daughter where he enjoys doing carpentry work.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

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About Lismore Immrama

Immrama is held in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland, on a weekend in June each year since 2003. Immrama has been dedicated to the art of Travel Writing, Good Music, and Fine Entertainment since its inception. Over the centuries many people have made journeys to and from Lismore and we hope that you will enjoy your lmmram in Lismore.

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