Rosamund Burton

Rosamund BurtonRosamund Burton will talk on Whispering Wire: Tracing the Overland Telegraph Line through the Heart of Australia Rosamund followed the path of the largely forgotten 3200-kilometre Overland Telegraph Line from Adelaide to Darwin.

Born in Ireland, Rosamund Burton grew up in England, until her father was employed on the Lismore Estate, and the family lived in the east wing of Lismore Castle. Her first book, Castles, Follies and Four-Leaf Clovers is about walking St Declan’s Way.

Rosamund went on to become an actress, performing at Dublin’s Gate and Gaiety Theatres, and in the film Educating Rita with Julie Walters and Michael Caine. Her first book, Castles, Follies and Four-Leaf Clovers is about walking St Declan’s Way. She moved to Australia in the mid-1990s following her fascination with her mother’s stories of growing up in Australia, and now lives in Sydney with her husband Steve. Her second book, Whispering Wire: Tracing the Overland Telegraph Line through the Heart of Australia, was published in late 2022.

Books By Rosamund Burton
Castles, Follies and Four-Leaf Clovers
Whispering Wire: Tracing the Overland Telegraph Line

Web Site:

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

John O’Keeffe

John O'KeeffeJohn O’Keeffe left Lismore, County Waterford, in his teens where he undertook his own Immrama travelling around the world and eventually settling in Queens Park, London. Whilst his home is London his heart remains very close to Lismore. He raised eight children, is a grandfather and a great grandfather. Married to the wonderful Kathleen and now in his eighties he remains the head of a very large family.

His book ‘Down the Deerpark Road Outside Lismore’ is a credit to him and his free spirit. It documents tales of a 1930’s childhood in Lismore with vivid descriptions of the environment and the characters. An ideal time to have been a child. It offers the reader an insight into the life of a special man and is full of the interesting stories that make up a fulfilled life.

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

Charlie Connelly

Charlie ConnellyCharlie Connelly is a bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster. He is the author of ten books including Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round The Shipping Forecast, In Search Of Elvis: A Journey To Find The Man Beneath The Jumpsuit and Our Man In Hibernia: Ireland, The Irish and Me.

Three of Charlie’s books have been selected as BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week while Attention All Shipping was voted the second greatest audiobook of all time in a Guardian/Waterstones public poll. Audio versions of his books have been narrated by Martin Freeman, Stephen Mangan and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Charlie was an award-winning presenter of the BBC television Holiday programme and co-presented the first three series of the popular BBC Radio 4 series Traveller’s Tree with Fi Glover. He was also a regular contributor to the same station’s Excess Baggage.

A popular public speaker Charlie has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society in London and sold out events at the Edinburgh Festival and Glasgow Concert Hall. After four years in Ireland Charlie recently returned to his home city of London after missing Charlton Athletic terribly.

Web Site:

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

Simon Winchester OBE

Simon Winchester OBESimon Winchester, best-selling author, journalist, and broadcaster, has worked as a foreign correspondent for most of his career and lectures widely at universities, geological and historical societies, and libraries. His current book is the New York Times best-seller The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom, the remarkable story of Joseph Needham, the eccentric and adventurous scientist who fell in love with China and whose own work there unveils the epic story of that magisterial country.

The author of 21 books, including the best-sellers The Professor and the Madman, an account of the men behind the Oxford English Dictionary, A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906, and The Map that Changed the World, about the nineteenth century geologist William Smith, Winchester specializes in eccentric, obsessive geniuses. He is praised for his skills as a masterful and riveting storyteller both on the page and in lectures.

Winchester’s journalistic work, mainly for The Guardian and the Sunday Times, has landed him in Belfast, Washington, DC, New Delhi, New York, London, and Hong Kong, where he covered such stories as the Ulster crisis, the creation of Bangladesh, the fall of President Marcos, the Watergate affair, the Jonestown Massacre, the assassination of Egypt’s President Sadat, the recent death and cremation of Pol Pot, and, in 1982, the Falklands War. During this conflict he was arrested and spent three months in prison in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego on spying charges.

Winchester writes and presents television films on a variety of historical topics and is a frequent contributor to BBC radio. Yet, the self-described “traditionalist who loves fine paper and ink” has written his first book entirely for a digital medium, an interactive app for the iPad called Skulls, published by Touch Press and and available on the App Store. “The app is a wonderful way of exploring the skull in human culture and as a symbol,” Winchester says.

Although he graduated from Oxford in 1966 with a degree in geology, Winchester only spent a year working as a geologist in the Ruwenzori Mountains in western Uganda and on oil rigs in the North Sea, before joining his first newspaper in 1967. He now works principally as an author, although he contributes to a number of American and British magazines and journals, including Harper’s, The Smithsonian, National Geographic Magazine, The Spectator, Granta, the New York Times, and The Atlantic Monthly. He was appointed Asia-Pacific Editor of Conde Nast Traveler at its inception in 1987, later becoming Editor-at-Large. His writings have won him several awards including Britain’s Journalist of the Year. He writes and presents television films, including a series on the final colonial years of Hong Kong and on a variety of other historical topics, and is a frequent contributor to the BBC radio program, From Our Own Correspondent. Winchester is a fellow at London’s Royal Geological Society.

He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) ‘for services to journalism and literature’ in the New Year Honours list for 2006. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, in October 2009.

Simon Winchester, who is married to the former NPR producer Setsuko Sato, lives in New York and on a small farm in the Berkshires. His interests include letterpress printing, bee-keeping, astronomy, stamp-collecting, model railways and cider-making He lives with is wife in New York City and has a small farm in the Berkshires in Massachusetts.

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

Paul Theroux

Paul TherouxPaul Theroux is described by writer and friend Jonathan Raban as “utterly American, possessing all of those democratic, Yankee, can do qualities.” These traits have served him well on explorations around the world for over fifty years, pen in hand, always with an eye for odd, compelling detail. Readers depend on his uncompromising, sometimes brazen reportage; audiences remember him for his witty, acerbic asides and the tremendous breadth of literature he brings to bear. Theroux is an avid, impassioned reader and literary scholar. His relentless enthusiasm for the pursuit of new discoveries and an abiding respect and affection for his readers and audience are abundantly evident in person.

“…it’s like a friendship [with the reader],” Theroux says.

“…A bond develops if you write a lot of books.”

Such qualities have served him well in his long career, fueling a prodigious output of books-more than 47 works of travel writing, short-story collections, novels, criticism and children’s literature since he published his first book, the novel Waldo, in 1967.

“Theroux novels are neither apologia nor accusation; wit is his rare medium, and that lays bare both. He is a large, lively, outrageous talent.” -Nadine Gordimer

He is recipient of the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters Award for literature, the Whitbread Prize for his novel Picture Palace, and the James Tait Black Award for The Mosquito Coast, which was also nominated for the American Book Award along with his earlier travel book The Old Patagonian Express: By Train through the Americas. His novels Saint Jack, The Mosquito Coast, Doctor Slaughter and Half Moon Street have all been made into films; and his short-story collection London Embassy (1982) was adapted for a British mini-series in 1987.

Many of Theroux’s novels are set in exotic locations around the world-both real and imagined-and are inspired by his own prolific travels, which he also chronicles in his highly distinguished body of nonfiction. With the publication of The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train through Asia and The Old Patagonian Express, Theroux established himself as America’s foremost travel writer. His latest work of nonfiction, The Tao of Travel, is an exploration of travel writing; it combines excepts from his own work with those from the seminal books that influenced him.

“Theroux may be one of our most prolific travel writers, but he is also one of our best. The reason for this, I think, is his ability to convey the optimism of travel while refusing to tell lies about what he encounters. You feel hopeful when you read him, and you feel that you’re being told the truth, and that’s a good enough reason to stay with him.” -Carolyn Sylge, New Statesman

Theroux’s latest novel, The Lower River, is inspired by his own chilling experience while in the Peace Corps. It the story of Ellis Hock, who flees his sputtering marriage and career for the warmth of Malawi, a country he remembers fondly from a visit as a young man. Upon arrival, he finds his once peaceful village now ravaged by poverty and AIDS, with the villagers relying on deception to survive.

Born in 1941, in Massachusetts, Theroux began his travels in earnest after he graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1963. He has lived, taught and written around the world, including Urbino, Italy; the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa; Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; the University of Singapore; and the United Kingdom. He currently lives between Maine and Hawaii. In addition to his books, Theroux has published articles in many magazines, including Time, Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Talk, GQ and Esquire.

Selected Nonfiction Books

  • The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road (Houghton, 2011)
  • Ghost Train to the Eastern Star (Houghton, 2008)
  • The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean (Putnam, 1995)
  • Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train through China (Putnam, 1989)
  • Sir Vidia’s Shadow: A Friendship Across Five Continents (Houghton, 1988)
  • The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey around Great Britain (Houghton, 1985)
  • The Old Patagonian Express: By Train through the Americas (Houghton, 1979)
  • The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train through Asia (Houghton, 1975)

Selected Fiction Books

  • The Lower River (Houghton, 2012)
  • A Dead Hand (Houghton, 2010)
  • The Elephanta Suite: Three Novellas (Houghton, 2007)
  • Blinding Light (Houghton, 2005)
  • Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town (Houghton, 2003)
  • Kowloon Tong (Houghton, 1997)
  • My Other Life (Houghton, 1996)
  • My Secret History (Putnam, 1989)
  • Half Moon Street: Two Short Novels (Houghton, 1984)
  • Doctor Slaughter (Hamish Hamilton, 1984)
  • The Mosquito Coast (Houghton, 1982)
  • Picture Palace (Houghton, 1978)


  • Fellow, Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Geographic Society in Britain
  • 2011 National Magazine Award in Fiction for “Minor Watt”
  • 1989 Thomas Cook Travel Book Prize
  • 1983 Finalist, American Book Award for The Mosquito Coast
  • 1981 Finalist, American Book Award for The Old Patagonian Express
  • 1978 Whitbread Prize for Best Novel for Picture Palace
  • 1977 American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Literature

Author’s photo by William Furniss

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

Dr. Rachel Finnegan

Dr. Rachel FinneganIllustrated Talk:
“A Description of the East: the Travel Writing of an 18th-century Clergyman from the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore”

Dr. Rachel Finnegan read Classical Philology at Trinity College Dublin & NUI Maynooth, spent two years at the British School of Archaeology at Athens and now lectures at Waterford Institute of Technology. Her new edition of Richard Twiss’s A Tour of Ireland in 1775 was published in 2008 by University College Dublin Press; and Volumes 1 & 2 of her three-volume edition of Richard Pococke’s travel correspondence (Letters from Abroad) were published in 2011 & 2012.

Web Site:

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

John Dwyer

John DwyerJohn has published four of his own books and helped
many other writers become authors. In this workshop,
John will share easy to follow steps to take your
writing and publish it on Amazon, the biggest
bookstore on earth. If you have written poetry, fiction,
memoir or any other genre and want to share it with
the world, then this workshop is for you!

John Dwyer hails from the Beara Peninsula in West Cork and suffers from incurable wanderlust. He discovered the travel writing of Dervla Murphy at an early age and was inspired to dream about his own travel adventures. He has since travelled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Africa and has published four books based on his travel adventures – High Road to Tibet, Cape Town to Kruger, and Klondike House: Memories of an Irish Country Childhood. John’s latest book Outback Odyssey: Travels in Hidden Australia. It describes his search for the real Australia, away from Bondi Beach and into Bush country.

He lives in Midleton in East Cork and continues to travel to any country foolish enough to admit him.

Books By John Dwyer

  • High Road to Tibet:
  • Travels in China, Tibet, Nepal & India
  • Klondike House: Memories of an Irish Country Childhood
  • Outback Odyssey: Travels Across Hidden Australia

Web Site:

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

Hilary Linstead and Elisabeth Davies

Hilary Linstead and Elisabeth DaviesHilary and Liz were two old school friends living on opposite sides of the world when unexpectedly, after thirty-five years, they reconnected. Discovering that they both loved travelling – the more exotic and far-flung the location, the better – and not having a clue whether they will get along (and realising each other’s well-developed eccentricities could make things even more fraught) the pair embarked on a trial journey to Morocco to see if they could survive the stresses of travelling into the unknown. They soon discovered their delight in laughing at themselves and each other, and quickly rekindled their friendship.

That tentative beginning turned into – so far – sixteen years worth of wonderful extended holidays, with Hilary and Liz continually circumnavigating the globe. Growing Old Outrageously is their very funny record of those trips, brilliantly encapsulating their quirky personalities, reflecting on their lives before they became wanderers and highlighting their love of food (some recipes included), art, theatre and music.

Destinations visited in the book include Marrakech, Fez and the Atlas Mountains in North Africa, Patagonia and the Galapagos Islands, Istanbul, Cappadocia and Antalya in Turkey, the western isles of Mull and Iona, safaris in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and the Serengeti plus, music festivals in Naples and Prague and, of course, England and Australia.

Along the way the two life-long friends encouraged, enraged and entertained each other. Hilary took thousands of photographs and Liz wrote copiously in beautiful bound notebooks. After sixteen years globetrotting together, have they changed as individuals?

‘Certainly,’ says Hil.
‘Not a jot,’ says Liz.

Books By Hilary Linstead And Elisabeth Davies
Growing Old Outrageously

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

Monica Corish

Monica CorishIn 1983, Monica Corish travelled overland from Nairobi to Cairo. She returned to Africa six months later to work as an English teacher in North Sudan. Soon afterwards she trained as a nurse, and later studied for an MA in Development Studies. Over the course of the following twenty years she travelled to South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Angola and Sierra Leone, working as a health adviser with IRC, WHO, Trocaire and GOAL. Five Love Songs to a Continent, a memoir inspired by her work and travel in Africa, was broadcast on Lyric FM’s The Quiet Quarter.

Her Africa-inspired poems have been published in The Stinging Fly and The SHOp; and in her debut collection, Slow Mysteries, published by Doghouse Books with the support of bursaries from The Arts Council and Leitrim Arts Office. Monica is a trained AWA writing group leader. She offers quarterly creative writing workshops for Returned Development Workers and Volunteers in the Irish Aid Information Centre in Dublin. Details of these workshops can be found on her website.

Web Site:

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

Theresa McDonnell Friström

Theresa McDonnell FriströmTheresa McDonnell Friström is a former International Development Worker. She worked in management positions for Concern Worldwide in Asia and Africa, for Irish Aid, Government of Ireland, in Uganda and South Africa, and for Vita (RTI International) Dublin. She holds an M.Sc. (Econ) from Swansea University, Wales and Diplomas in Social Policy and Administration (Swansea University), Human Resource Management (IMI/Trinity College Dublin), and Disaster Management (Dhaka University, Bangladesh). She has researched Social Performance Management in Microfinance at University College Dublin (UCD) and studied Swedish at Lund University.

She began her overseas development work as a volunteer with Concern in Bangladesh (1973-75) and continued to work with Concern over the following twenty years, as Assistant Country Director in Thailand (1979/80), Country Director in Uganda (1981/82), Tanzania (1982/83), Sudan (1984), Bangladesh (1988/89), as Head of a number of Departments, and Member of Emergency Teams in Dublin (up to 1994). She was the first female Head of Personnel Division (in 1992), was Country Director in Cambodia for three years (2002/05), and was the first Chairperson of the Board of AMK Cambodia (2003-2005). She was the second Programme Officer appointed by Irish Aid in Uganda (1994/99) and in South Africa in 2000. She worked with Vita in Dublin as Programme Advisor, primarily for Ethiopia, for two and a half years, (2005/08).

She is a Member of Concern, and a Member of the CLTS Foundation, and an Associate Medical Missionary of Mary (MMM). She currently teaches English in Simrishamns Komun, Sweden. She was born and grew up in Rathcoole , Co. Dublin, Ireland and is married to Gunnar Friström . She now divides her time between Ireland and Sweden.

What Have You Got In Your Bag?
What Have You Got In Your Bag? is a collection of stories inspired by the unplanned happenings in the everyday life of an Irish aid worker – stories of things that do not appear in job descriptions, in Strategy Papers, nor in White Papers, but must, nevertheless, be dealt with.

They begin with an early-summer family gathering in the picturesque Upper Punchestown in Co. Kildare, Ireland, and then move to the semi-nomadic cattle herders of Karamoja ; the burial in Uganda of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide; the choosing of paint colour for the hospital in Kagadi ; convincing sceptics that it is possible to rehabilitate rural roads using women’s labour ; car-hijackings; deaths of three co-workers; a road accident in South Africa; a life-changing visit to beautiful Brantevik in south-eastern Sweden; dreams; survivors of the Khmer Rouge; and finally helping to create an award winning microfinance institution in Cambodia. These are memories that come like drops of water that separate for the great mass, dance in the sunshine, and create rainbows. These are stories that want to be told.

“These are wonderful stories, beautifully written. I really enjoyed your writing style, and you have much to share about the life you have lived and the experiences you’ve been through.” – Laura Monroe

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: +353-86-3618264


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