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.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith - AuthorMichael Smith is a best-selling author whose book, An Unsung Hero, the biography of explorer Tom Crean, opened a new chapter in Irish history and stimulated widespread interest in Ireland’s role in Polar exploration. An Unsung Hero has been translated into the languages of China, Germany, Italy and Korea and has encouraged a number of spin-offs, including a successful stage play and songs. Crean’s story has since been popularised for children through the successful adaptation, Tom Crean – Iceman and Fear San Oighear, the Irish language edition for younger readers. Tom Crean’s story has since been adopted onto the national curriculum in Irish schools.

Worldwide sales of Michael’s books have risen above 250,000 and include Shackleton – By Endurance We Conquer and Great Endeavour – Ireland’s Antarctic Explorers. Michael has returned to the theme of unsung heroes with his latest book, Icebound in the Arctic – The Mystery of Captain Francis Crozier and the Franklin Expedition. He has appeared on TV and radio and lectured extensively at prestigious venues such as the National Library of Ireland, Royal Society of Irish Antiquarians, National Maritime Museum and Royal Geographical Society London, the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge and the Princess Grace Memorial Library, Monaco. He appeared at Immrama in 2018 and has also spoken at numerous other literary festivals in Ireland, including Dublin Book Festival, Writers’ Week Listowel, Cuirt, West Cork Literary Festival, Ennis Book Festival and the Mountains to Sea Festival. 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.

Des Ekin

Des EkinDes Ekin is a journalist and the author of five books. The Stolen Village, his bestselling account of the 1631 pirate slave raid on Baltimore, County Cork, was shortlisted for the Argosy Irish Nonfiction Book of the Year Award and also nominated for Book of the Decade in the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards. For his latest book, Ireland’s Pirate Trail, he travelled around the Irish coast by land and sea to collect more than 30 true-life pirate stories. His third history book, Hell or Some Worst Place, a vivid account of the Spanish invasion at Kinsale in 1601, was shortlisted for Nonfiction Book of the Year. He is also the author of two crime novels. Born in County Down, Des began his career as a reporter and rose to become Deputy Editor of the Belfast Sunday News before moving to his current home in Dublin, where he worked as a columnist and political correspondent for the Sunday World until 2012. He is married with a son and two daughters.

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

Turtle Bunbury

Turtle Bunbury Author - Photo by Leon FarrellTurtle Bunbury is a best-selling author and historian. His recent books include The Irish Diaspora and Ireland’s Forgotten Past, described by BBC History Magazine as ‘impeccably researched.’ Turtle also presents history podcasts including Turtle Bunbury’s Global Irish and Waterways Through Time.

Turtle’s latest history project ‘Past Tracks‘ can now be found in 50 Railways across Ireland. Written and researched by Turtle, and beautifully illustrated by Derry Dillon, ‘Past Tracks‘ puts history back in focus through the medium of 300 short stories about lesser-known people, places and events connected with Ireland’s rich past.

Subscribe to the History Quarter to access Turtle’s extensive library of books, family and house histories, and 1,000’s of research articles.

Published Books
The Irish Diaspora: Emigration, Exile & Imperialism, 2021
Ireland’s Forgotten Past, 2020
Adare Manor : An Epicurean Journey, 2020
Adare Manor : Renaissance of an Irish Country House, 2019
1847 – A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity & Savagery, 2016
Easter Dawn – The 1916 Rising, 2015
The Glorious Madness – Tales of the Irish & the Great War, 2014
Vanishing Ireland 4, 2013, with James Fennell
Dublin from the Etihad Skyline (GAA Museum, 2012)
Vanishing Ireland 3, 2011, with James Fennell
Sporting Legends of Ireland, 2010, with James Fennell
Vanishing Ireland 2, 2009, with James Fennell
Dublin Docklands, An Urban Voyage, 2009
The Irish Pub, 2008, with James Fennell
Vanishing Ireland, 2006, with James Fennell
Living in Sri Lanka, 2006,, with James Fennell
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow, 2005
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare, 2004

Web Site:
Twitter: @turtlebunbury

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.

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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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