Gerard Taylor

Gerard TaylorBorn in 1951 in London. After leaving school Gerard joined the Merchant Navy. After sailing around the world he married in 1969. He became a gardener and worked on private estates. Had four children. He and his wife Linda fostered 220 children. In 1980 Gerard changed profession to become an international mural artist. Because of an illness in 2012 Gerard lost the sight in one eye and no longer paints murals. Whilst recovering he was able to complete the book “But for Ireland I’d not tell her name” which had begun with a visit to his great uncle Joe Collins in 1982.

Gerard’s father was South African and his mother Annie Collins came from Botany (New St.) in Lismore. She moved to London as did most of the Collins family in the forties. They left behind Mossie and Lizzie Collins who lived in Botany until they died. Gerard was fortunate to meet and record Lizzie when she was 99 years old.

Gerard lives in Cornwall and is still painting and working on ideas for new stories.

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

Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

Antonia Bolingbroke-KentAntonia Bolingbroke-Kent is a travel writer with a particular love of lengthy and occasionally arduous journeys on two and three wheels. This obsession dates back to 2006 when she co-piloted a pink tuk tuk, Ting Tong, a record-breaking 12,561 miles from Bangkok to Brighton with her friend Jo. Through this trip they raised £50,000 for Mind, were named Cosmopolitan magazine’s ‘Fun, Fearless Females of the Year’ and subsequently wrote Tuk Tuk to the Road.

Antonia has since wobbled around the Black Sea on a zebra-print Honda Cub, survived an attempt to reach the Arctic Circle on an old Russian Ural and, most recently, spent two months battling the mud and mountains of Indochina’s Ho Chi Minh Trail on an ancient (also pink) Honda Cub. Her second book, A Short Ride in the Jungle recounts the tale of this gruelling, thrilling and occasionally terrifying journey which saw her encounter a cast of colourful characters and experience a region going through unprecedented change.

Her talk at Immrama will be about this book.

Web Site:
Twitter: @AntsBK

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

Charley Boorman

Actor and Adventurer Charley Boorman has successfully been producing adventure travel documentaries for the BBC, SKY and National Geographic Channel since 2004. His first big adventure was the award winning series Long Way Round biking overland from London to New York with good friend Ewan McGregor. Following the success of this series McGregor and Boorman went on to star in Long Way Down, again travelling by motorbike, this time from John O’Groats to Cape Town.

More recently Charley has gone solo, traveling overland for BBC series Charley Boorman:Wicklow to Sydney By Any Means where he traveled by any means of transport appropriate to the country from his hometown of Wicklow in Ireland to Sydney, Australia. This was then followed by a second BBC series in 2009; Charley Boorman: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means.

Charley’s career on screen began at an early age with his first film role as Ed’s Boy, Jon Voight’s son in Deliverence, directed by his father John Boorman. He went on to star in films such as Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Hope And Glory and, more recently, Karaoke, The Serpent’s Kiss and The Bunker.

Born in London in 1966, he grew up in Ireland and has a passion for motorbikes, spending much of his childhood riding motorcross. From 1998 to 2002, he also ran a British motorcycle team with Ewan McGregor, winning the Superstock Series with David Jeffries.

Charley is currently a columnist for Australian Road Rider magazine and an ambassador for Bremont Watches. He was recently a finalist on Celebrity Masterchef 2014.

Web Site:
Twitter: @charleyboorman

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

Harry Bucknall

Harry BucknallAfter twelve years service in the Coldstream Guards, including operational tours in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, Harry Bucknall, 48, worked in the oil and mining industry and as a consultant in the Middle East. He has also produced theatre on the London Fringe, sat on the Olivier Awards Panel and acted as reviewer for Arts Council, London and a number of West End publications.

Like a Tramp Like a Pilgrim
In the summer of 2012, Harry set out from London and walked 1,411 miles to Rome through England, France, Switzerland and Italy following the ancient Via Francigena; the journey took 94 days. Published by Bloomsbury in July 2014.

“My congratulations to Harry Bucknall. I thoroughly enjoyed Like a Tramp Like a Pilgrim. It’s a wonderful book.” Martin Sheen, Hollywood, USA

“Harry Bucknall is my sort of pilgrim. This is one of the happiest books I have read for a very long time. I loved it.” John Julius, Norwich

“A remarkable story from a remarkable man.” Alan Titchmarsh

“A boisterous, jubilant adventure”. The Times

In The Dolphin’s Wake
Published by Bene Factum in June 2011, is the tale of Harry’s 5,500 mile journey from Venice to Istanbul, in the summer of 2006, through the Greek Archipelago.

“Harry Bucknall carries us by magic flights from the thousand birds of St Mark’s to the far distant Symplegades… It’s a lovely book.” Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor

“… I have to tell you that I very much enjoyed it, relished its loitering, laid back style of writing as of travelling, and learnt a good deal from it along the way.” Jan Morris

Harry has appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday with Clare Balding, Radio 4’s Saturday Live, Excess Baggage and written variously for, amongst others, The Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, The Scotsman, Irish Independent, Country Life, The Lady and Dorset Life.

He splits his time between London and Dorset and lives with an errant Jack Russell, Sam.

Twitter: @harrybucknall

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

Jonathan Shackleton

Jonathan ShackletonLives in Mullagh, County Cavan, Ireland. Cousin of the Irish Kildare born Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. He is the family historian for the Irish Shackletons, whose ancestor founded a Quaker school in Ballitore, County Kildare in 1726. He is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin in Natural Sciences and was awarded his Masters Degree from Ohio State University for work in Arctic Alaska.

As a lecturer and guide, Jonathan has accompanied 37 groups on voyages to the Antarctic in the past 15 years as historian, guide, photographer and Zodiac driver. Highlights of his visits have been landing on the godforsaken Elephant Island at Point Wild, visiting Ernest Shackleton’s grave on South Georgia, travelling to the Ross Sea, landing at Cape Adare, visiting two of the largest Emperor penguin colonies in the world, and a member of the first group to visit the Emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill in the Weddell Sea. Many of these visits have been made whilst working with Quark expeditions. He continues to visit the Antarctica regularily.

  • He has been involved in many Shackleton and Antarctic activities including films, TV documentaries, television and radio interviews, exhibitions and has given many talks in Antarctica, Canada, England, Ireland, Isle of Man, Tasmania and the United States.
  • He acted as Consultant to Sir Ranulph Fiennes for his recent biography “Captain Scott”.
  • He led a group of Irish students to the Antarctic in 2001 with the Canadian based Students On Ice group. This was the first group of students from Ireland or Europe to visit Antarctica.
  • Jonathan owns one of the sledges that Ernest Shackleton took on his “Nimrod” furthest South expedition in 1907-1909.
  • Jonathan is author of a book with John MacKenna “Shackleton – An Irishman in Antarctica” about Ernest Shackleton with emphasis on the Shackleton family and the explorer’s Irish background. (2003) Lilliput Press and Wisconsin U.P.
  • He is also a contributor to “The Crossing of Antarctica” by George Lowe and Huw Lewis-Jones (2014)
  • He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London.
  • Recently elected member of BAS (British Antarctic Survey) Club.
  • Regularly attends and contributes to the annual Shackleton Autumn School in Athy, Co. Kildare in October.
  • Member of the James Caird Society. Commemorates life of Ernest Shackleton.


Salwa Elhamamsy

Salwa ElhamamsySalwa Mohamed Elhamamsy is an Egyptian short stories, travel literature and opinion articles writer. She belongs to the nineties generation of Egyptian writers. Her works reflect deep interest in human and social issues. She also tried to revive the old heritage of Egyptian contemporary writing in a new and socially reformist way. She started writing short stories and editorials since late eighties. Graduated at the Faculty of Mass Communication, Cairo University, she worked as a journalist at Al Ahram Newspaper from 1989 to 1994. Her first short stories collection “Dreams Restrictions” was published in 1993 by the biggest Egyptian Publishing Organization, the Egyptian Book Association. She started writing opinion articles on various social issues and problems from 1995 in several newspapers and magazines in Egypt and some Arab countries. In 2006, Al Ahram Newspaper, the largest Egyptian Newspaper, published Salwa’s first opinion article. Salwa’s writings usually tackle some of the social problems in the Egyptian and Arab societies.

In 2004, She co-authored a book about Egypt in English with an American writer. The book “Egypt, the valley of Life” shed light on various aspects of Egyptian contemporary daily life as well as a briefed history of Egypt throughout ages.

Salwa’s short stories writing continued to a higher level when she wrote her second and most published short stories collection “The Forties Desert” which appeared in 2005. With this collection Salwa managed to touch upon some of the deepest and most sensitive human feelings in a new way and link them to daily situations.

The collection was republished in 2006 and brought the writer’s name to a nominees short list of one of the most important and highly regarded literature Egyptian awards. Salwa’s fourth book was “Dairies of an expat in Singapore” in 2008. The book was her first attempt in travel writing . In 2010 “A Bride from Russia” was Salwa’s fifth book and her third short stories collection. One of the short stories in that collection, a Patriotic Citizen, was awarded as one of the best 10 stories in an International competition organized by “Biscuits Publishing House” Britain .

In all her works, She tried to explain how people from different cultures are more similar than what we think, They all almost share the same fears and carry the same hopes in their hearts and minds. She is now writing a novel (National Flowers). The main theme of that novel is sacrifice victims and martyrs who lost their lives defending the Egyptian revolution in 2011. Salwa is one of the writers who believe that the writing and literature in Egypt and other Arab Spring countries are not yet up to the level of the big shift that those countries have witnessed over the last 2 years. She think that the writers of those countries have to carry out many responsibilities, not only reflecting the sufferings and hopes of their societies, but also shedding light on the much needed social and cultural reform there.

Twitter: @SalwaElhamamsy

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.

Paul Clements

Paul ClementsPaul Clements is the author of four travel books about Ireland, as well as works of biography and criticism, and is a contributing writer to three guidebooks to Ireland. His latest book, Wandering Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way: From Banba’s Crown to World’s End (2016) is based on a journey along the west coast by car and bike, on horseback and on foot. Burren Country: Travels through an Irish limestone landscape is a collection of essays described as a love letter to the Burren published in 2011 by the Collins Press. The Height of Nonsense: The Ultimate Irish Road Trip (2005) and Irish Shores, A Journey Round the Rim of Ireland (1993) have both been reprinted in 2016. Paul’s acclaimed biography on the travel writer, actor and singer Richard Hayward, Romancing Ireland, was published in 2014 by Lilliput Press and adapted for BBC television. He has written and edited two books about the travel writer and historian Jan Morris. In 2012, he edited an anthology The Blue Sky Bends Overall, a celebration of ten years of the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing. A regular contributor to The Irish Times, he has written many ‘Irishman’s Diaries’ on cultural life and heritage, and reviews Irish local history books.

Join Paul Clements on a meandering journey through a quarter century of travelling and writing about the changing face of modern Ireland. For his latest book, Wandering Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Paul retraced the footsteps of his first travel book of 1991 based on a coastal hitchhike. In an illustrated talk, he reflects on the social, cultural and physical changes that have taken place in that time: the new landscape of wind turbines and phone masts, the fact that extreme weather is the new normal, and that coffee is the new wine. We learn about the Celtic seagod who was a swashbuckling companion on his journey, hear about the Power of Three, and his trip through LSD; and just who uses phone boxes these days? Looking back from the second decade of this century, the past – even the recent past – seems a foreign country where things were done differently.

Twitter: @clementswriting

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

Robert Fisk

Robert FiskRobert Fisk (born 1946, Maidstone, Kent) is a British journalist, currently Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent.

Described by the New York Times as “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain”, he has over thirty years of experience in international reporting, dating from 1970s Belfast and Portugal’s 1974 Carnation Revolution, the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War, and encompassing the 1979 Iranian revolution, the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, 1991 Persian Gulf War, and 2003 Invasion of Iraq. He is the world’s most-decorated foreign correspondent, having received numerous awards including the British Press Awards’ International Journalist of the Year award seven times. Fisk speaks good vernacular Arabic, and is one of the few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden (three times between 1994 and 1997).

Fisk’s reporting – and his bestselling books, based on his field notes and recordings – combine straight factual reporting with analysis and often strong criticism of Middle Eastern governments as well as what he perceives as hypocrisy in British and United States government foreign policy. His view of journalism is that it must “challenge authority – all authority – especially so when governments and politicians take us to war”, and he quotes with approval the Israeli journalist Amira Hass: “There is a misconception that journalists can be objective … What journalism is really about is to monitor power and the centres of power.” Fisk has received widespread praise on the political left and criticism from the right, the latter in particular for an alleged anti-American and anti-Israeli bias in his emphasis on reporting the alleged ills done to the Middle East by the West from the Great War onwards.

[Biography & Photo Copyright Wikipedia contributors (2006). Robert Fisk. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:40, April 29, 2006.]

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

Donald Brady

Donald Brady Author

Donald Brady is a former County Librarian, historian and author of numerous historical books. He will speak on Gerald Villierstown Stuart (1869-1951): Author, Politician and Businessman.

Donald has delivered a paper at every festival since 2005. Donald never disappoints.

Donald Brady was born in Cavan and obtained his B.A. in History and English at Maynooth. He was County Librarian for County Waterford from 1982 until 2010. He served as director of the West Waterford Heritage Week in 1991 and 1992. He was the co-ordinator of Waterford County Council’s Famine Commemoration Programme and served on the National Committee charged with the protection of the Woodstown Viking Settlement.

He has edited major Waterford histories including, Hansard’s History of Waterford and Smith’s History of Waterford. Some of his more recent books are W.E.D. Allen & Other Essays, and A Study of the Life and Work of Regina Maria Roche.

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.

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