Dr. Matthew Jebb

Matthew JebbMatthew Jebb’s talk: In search of the Gardens of Eden through travelling for plants.

Matthew speaks at Immrama 2023 on understanding that the lives of plants all hangs on the same need to travel to see them in their native haunts, much as in the days of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.

Matthew is a botanist and the director of the National Botanic Gardens. He studied as a taxonomist (biologist that groups organisms into categories) at Oxford University. He later lived in Papa New Guinea where he was involved in many collecting expeditions and the naming of numerous species.

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

Isabel Conway

Isabel ConwayIsabel Conway is a multi-award winning travel writer, the 2022 long haul Ireland Travel Extra Travel journalist of the year, and three-time past winner of the overall award. She has also been a winner and commended in the British Guild of Travel Writers annual awards in recent years. With a passion for discovering new places, people, and interesting experiences she has chronicled stand-out moments in her award-winning travel articles. In Varanasi India, she was intensely moved by a Ganges Hindu cremation, In poverty-stricken Malawi, she met feisty women who set up a co-op to feed their families. On a little boat on the same lake travelled by Dr David Livingstone in Zambia, watched by hippos and crocodiles, the outboard motor cut out. Oars luckily were aboard. Other memorable trips were following the Silk Road in remote Uzbekistan, enjoying a five-hour-long Georgian Supra feast, a 3 -day horse trek in the Canadian Rockies, and a surf lesson in Hawaii.

A fluent Dutch speaker, Isabel worked as a news and features writer for Irish and European print and broadcast media whilst based in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Belgium. Her Ireland outlets include the travel pages of The Business Post, Sunday Independent, Sunday Times, Irish Daily Mail, and Irish Examiner. She also contributes regularly to RTE One Radio World Report.

Isabel Conway’s talk: Some insights into the life and times of Ireland’s most celebrated travel writer, Lismore Co Waterford native the late Dervla Murphy, who pioneered a fearless and intrepid go-it-alone attitude to travel.

True to her convictions, with an almost resolute disregard for danger, her innate curiosity propelled Dervla Murphy to seek out the new and unknown, setting out from her home here in Lismore to undertake extraordinary journeys for more than half a century.

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

Tomi Reichental

Tomi ReichentalTomi’s talk: Holocaust survivor of Bergen Belsen concentration camp living in Ireland.

“Experiences as a child prisoner and author of “I was a boy in Bergen Belsen

Tomi’s story is a story of the past. It is also a story for our times. The Holocaust reminds us of the dangers of racism and intolerance, providing lessons from the past that are relevant today. In Tomi’s words “The Holocaust didn’t start with cattle wagons and gas chambers, but with whispers, taunts, daubing, abuse, and finally murder. One of the lessons we must learn is to respect difference and reject all forms of racism and discrimination.”

Tomi Reichental was born in 1935 in Piestany Slovakia. In 1944 he was captured and deported to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp with his mother, grandmother, brother, aunt, and cousin. When he was liberated on the 15th of April 1945, he discovered that 35 members of his extended family were murdered, Grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins died in the Holocaust.

For 60 years, Tomi didn’t speak of his experiences “not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t.” Since breaking his silence, he has been on a mission of remembrance. Tomi has lived in Dublin since 1959. Since 2004 when Tomi began to speak about his experiences, he travels up and down the country twice a week to talk to Leaving Cert students.

In October 2011 Tomi’s first book was published “I Was a Boy in Belsen” He is now in the process of writing his second book. The latest project for Tomi was fulfilled with the premiere of his second film “Close to Evil” which had its premiere at the 25th Galway International film festival where the film earned 2nd place in the documentary feature, also directed by Gerry Gregg.

So, why has 84-year-old Tomi Reichental, after 60 years of unbroken silence and 45 years of residential anonymity in a quiet cul-de-sac in Rathgar, embarked on his public mission of remembrance? As one of only 2 Holocaust survivors left in Ireland, Tomi is mindful that the horrors of the Holocaust will soon pass from memory to history. The words of Paddy Fitzgibbon at the unveiling of the only Holocaust memorial in Ireland at Listowel, Co. Kerry are imprinted on Tomi’s consciousness:

“Our generation, and the generation after us, will be the last that will be able to say that we stood and shook the hands of some of those who survived. Go home from this place and tell your children your grandchildren and great-grandchildren that today in Listowel, you looked into eyes that witnessed the most cataclysmic events ever unleashed by mankind upon mankind. Tell them that you met people who will still be remembered and still talked about and still wept over 10.000 years from now – because if they are not, there will be no hope for us at all. The Holocaust happened and it can happen again, and every one of us, if only for our own sense of self-preservation, has a solemn duty to ensure that nothing like it ever occurs again”.

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

Lara Marlowe

Lara MarloweLara Marlowe will talk about her memoir “Love in a Time of War, My Years with Robert Fisk” and about what she has learned from more than 40 years of journalism, including the 15 years she worked alongside the late Robert Fisk.

Lara Marlowe was a foreign correspondent for The Irish Times from 1996 until her official retirement in April of 2023. She will continue to freelance for the Irish Times and other outlets for the foreseeable future.

Lara has worked extensively in France, the Middle East, and the US, and made two long reporting trips to Ukraine in 2021. Before the Irish Times, she wrote for Time Magazine, the Financial Times, and the International Herald Tribune.

Lara has covered many of the major events of our time, including four French presidents, the first term of Barack Obama and conflicts in Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied territories, former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia and the Central African Republic.

Lara has received four awards for her work for The Irish Times, and holds degrees from UCLA, the Sorbonne and Oxford. France made her a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur for her contribution to Franco-Irish relations.

Lara published the best-selling memoir Love in a Time of War, My Years with Robert Fisk at the end of 2021. At Immrama, she will talk about what she has learned from more than 40 years of journalism, including the 15 years she worked alongside the late Robert Fisk.

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

Brian O’Donovan

Brian O'DonovanBrian O’Donovan will talk about “Divided States of America: My four years in Washington during the Trump era” and his book Four Years in the Cauldron.

Brian O’Donovan is RTÉ’s Work & Technology Correspondent and has been a journalist with the station since 2015. He was appointed to the role of Washington Correspondent in January 2018.

Brian O’Donovan was RTÉ’s Washington Correspondent during a tumultuous time for the US. Donald Trump’s chaotic and controversial presidency dominated the political agenda. His handling of the Black Lives Matter protest movement and the Covid-19 pandemic saw the gulf between an already divided America grow even wider. Brian had a front-row seat on it all and reported on major events including the election of Joe Biden and the storming of the Capitol Building. He chronicled his fascinating time in the US in his book ‘Four Years in the Cauldron‘.

Brian began his broad broadcasting career with local radio station Red FM in his native Cork. He then joined TV3 where he worked for ten years in a variety of roles including news correspondent and documentary maker.

He is married to Joanna and they have two daughters.

Photo Credit: Marty Katz / washingtonphotographer.com

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

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 independent.ie. 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: http://charliepiggott.net/

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.

Thanks to all our sponsors, without whom Immrama would not be possible.

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.

Contact Information

Tel: +353-86-3618264

E-mail: info@lismoreimmrama.com

Social Media

Website by: Déise Design