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

Rosemary Mahoney

Rosemary Mahoney was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1961. She was educated at Harvard College and Johns Hopkins University and has been awarded numerous awards for her writing, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (US), a Whiting Writers Award, a nomination for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award (US), and Harvard’s Charles E. Horman Prize for writing. She is the author of five books of non-fiction: The Early Arrival of Dreams; A Year in China, a New York Times Notable Book, Whoredom in Kimmage; The World of Irish Women, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman, and he Singular Pilgrim; Travels on Sacred Ground. Her travelogue, Down the Nile; Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff, was among the National Book Critics’ Circle’s Best Books of 2007 and was selected by writer Jan Morris for Conde Nast Traveller’s list of the best travel books of all time. Her most recent book, For the Benefit of Those Who See; Dispatches from the World of the Blind, is based on her experiences teaching at the Braille Without Borders schools for the blind in both Lhasa, Tibet and Kerala, India.

Mahoney has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The London Observer, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, National Geographic Traveler, and The New York Times Magazine. She lives in Greece.


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

Isambard Wilkinson

Spellbound by his grandmother’s Anglo-Indian heritage and the exuberant annual visits of her friend the Begum, Isambard became enthralled by Pakistan as an intrepid teenager, eventually working there as a foreign correspondent during the war on terror. Seeking the land behind the headlines Bard sets out to discover the essence of a country convulsed by Islamist violence. What of the old, mystical Pakistan has survived and what has been destroyed? His is a funny hashish and whiskey scented travel book from the frontline, full of open hearted delight and a poignant lust for life.

Isambard Wilkinson was born in 1971. As a young boy in Ireland, he listened to family stories of adventurous botanists and artists, sailors and soldiers who traveled through China and Africa, India and Albania. It fired an urge to roam. Expelled from school at 15, after University he was refused entry into the Royal Marines and instead worked for Country Life magazine before leaving to travel throughout Pakistan, an ambition curtailed by kidney failure. After a stretch on dialysis and his first kidney transplant he became a foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in Spain, and then in Pakistan, where he completed his travels the subject of this book. Following a second transplant he is based in Hong Kong where he works as a journalist.

Twitter: @IsambardW

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

Michael Smith

Michael Smith, the best-selling author, talks about opening a new chapter in Irish history with his books on Tom Crean, Ernest Shackleton and other Irish explorers. He speaks about the highs and lows of uncovering the stories, challenging old myths, breaking new ground and the daunting task of conducting important historic research in a pub.

Worldwide sales of Michael Smith’s books have exceeded 250,000 and stimulated a surge of interest in Ireland’s previously overlooked role in the history of Polar exploration. An Unsung Hero, his biography of Tom Crean, now forms part of the curriculum in Irish schools and was recently translated into Chinese. Michael’s books have generated a range of spin-offs, including the erection of a statue to Crean, a successful one-man play, a new brand of lager and tourists from across the globe flocking to Crean’s pub in Kerry. Statues have also been erected in recent years to other Irish explorers, including Shackleton, Keohane and Forde, and the first museum in the world devoted to Shackleton has opened in Co Kildare.

Michael Smith is an authority on Polar exploration who has written nine books, appeared in TV and radio documentaries for RTE and the BBC. He has lectured at many literary festivals in Ireland, including Writers’ Week, Cúirt, West Cork Literary Festival, Mountains to Sea Festival Dublin, Eigse and the Ennis Book Festival. Michael has also spoken at many prestigious venues, including: National Library of Ireland, The National Museum of Ireland, National Maritime Museum, London, Princess Grace Memorial Library Monaco, Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace, Queen’s University Belfast, Royal Geographical Society, Royal Scottish Geographical Society and Scott Polar Research Institute Cambridge.

Michael’s books include An Unsung Hero – Tom CreanShackleton – By Endurance We Conquer, Great Endeavour – Ireland’s Antarctic Explorers and Captain Francis – Last Man Standing and for younger readers, Tom Crean – Iceman. Michael is a former award-winning journalist with The Guardian and The Observer.


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

Professor Dr. Robyn Rowland AO

Professor Dr Robyn Rowland (retired academic) is a dual Irish-Australian writer/poet, residing in both countries. She has been teaching and writing in Turkey since 2009 and has given many workshops in Turkey as well as bi-lingual readings with her translator Professor Dr Mehmet Ali Çelikel. She has been publishing for over 45 years and has 10 books of poetry, as well as 3 academic titles. Previous to early retirement in 1996 due to breast cancer and burnout, Professor Rowland was inaugural Head of the School of Social Inquiry with 10 areas of study, 5 campuses and Head of the Australian Women’s Research Centre at Deakin University. She was made an Officer in the Order of Australia by the Australian Government in 1996 for national and international contributions to tertiary education and women’s health. Since leaving academia, Dr Rowland reads and teaches in many countries.

The Workshop
This structured workshop is appropriate for established and early writers; poets and prose writers.

Time Travelling. Archaeology and the writing dig.
The processes of writing are often like an archaeological dig and use similar processes: travelling through time and place; turning over artefacts, considering stratification, piecing together fragments, blowing away the dust of memory. Narratives emerge in archaeology to explain the material finds and so too is creative writing a project of story telling. This workshop will consider some writers’ use of archaeology to create a present message or memory.  We will also consider some specific finds e.g the bog bodies and other finds, the Peruvian finds, Troy and the Minoan civilization. Participants will be encouraged to begin with a specific find/place and generate their own history/ narrative into it and weave their own ‘find’ out of it.

Each participant is given notes to keep which relate to the topic of the workshop, as well as copies of Robyn’s and other works which exemplify the theme. Each part of the workshop involves a talk, a guided meditative moment encouraging participants to attend to the nature of their piece of writing, followed by writing towards the topic. Robyn will then give feedback for each participant in terms of the aim of the workshop.


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.

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: +353-85-8628445


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