Monday, June 13, 2011

Enthralled Crowds Journey with International Travel Writers

Crowds of visitors descended upon the heritage town of Lismore, Co Waterford for The Immrama Festival of Travel Writing' last weekend (9-12 June).

Literary enthusiasts from throughout Ireland and abroad congregated in the town since Thursday evening last (June 9) to enjoy a weekend of literary presentations, workshops, a bloggers clinic and poetry readings with international travel writers including Conor O'Clery, Rolf Potts, Alex von Tunzelmann, Sara Wheeler, Theo Doran, William Blacker and Jasper Winn.

The four-day festival commenced on Thursday evening, June 9 with the launch of four new books by authors Paul Clements, Áine Uí Fhoghlú, Alan Murphy and David Monaghan in Lismore Castle Arts. Friday morning commenced with schools poetry workshops and on Friday evening Theo Dorgan took his audience on a literary sailing voyage, along with polar traveller, Sara Wheeler, who enthralled with her audience with tales of her vast explorations of the northern and southern hemispheres. Travel writer Pól Ó Conghaile ably and expertly chatted with Theo and Sara to provide a wonderful evening's entertainment.

Commenting on the festival, County Manager Ray O'Dwyer said, "Once again the Immrama festival has been a huge success. Lismore Immrama is now a recognised brand worldwide in travel writing circles, with visitors from destinations such as Melbourne, Australia; Vancouver, Canada and Florida in the U.S having traveled to Lismore this week especially for the Festival. It is fantastic to know that County Waterford is making its mark on the world map in this way."

Saturday morning's  Bloggers' Clinic, which was a new event on the Immrama calendar, was a huge success and very well received. More than 50 people were treated to some wonderful presentations and discussion about this post modern method of travel writing from the King of Blogging Rolf Potts, travel writer Manchán Magan, couchsurfer Áine Goggins and blogger Darragh Doyle.  This was followed by a lively questions and answers session which proved to be an insightful workshop on self publishing in the electronic era.

On Saturday afternoon keynote speaker Conor O'Clery spoke movingly on his reporting from the world's conflict zones and the phenomenon of the 'conflict hotel.' He vividly described some of his experiences detailing the camaraderie of journalists working within countries in turmoil. On Saturday evening at the Blackwater Community School, Blogger, Author and Travel Writer Rolf Potts gave his insights into the whole travel writing genre, vividly brought to life by his own travel experiences and travel historian Alex von Tunzelmann enthralled her audience with details of the 'real' story behind the Cuban Missile Crisis and the fall of the British Empire in India.

The Immrama Festival Committee are deeply indebted to traveler and author Jasper Winn, who stepped in at the last moment to give a wonderful 'Literary Breakfast' presentation on Sunday morning at Ballyrafter House Hotel.  Due to unforeseen circumstances programmed author Anthony Sattin was unable to make it and Jasper kindly agreed to speak of his own travels and experiences in various countries around the world, including some fascinating tales of his kayaking trip around Ireland, which is detailed in his new book, "Paddle: A Long Way Around Ireland."

The rain held off on Sunday afternoon to allow large crowds enjoy a lovely afternoon's free family fun entertainment in the Millennium Park, including wonderful music by Loudest Whisper and events including stilt-walking, face painting, dancing and a magician. The tempting food aromas courtesy of the Lismore Farmers Market drew many to the food producer stalls on Lismore Castle Avenue.

The festival closed on Sunday evening with a wonderful literary presentation by acclaimed travel writer William Blacker. The theme of the 2011 festival was taken from William's book Along the Enchanted Way, which is an account of the years he spent in northern Romania, living a life that has hardly changed since the Middle Ages, having discovered the 200-odd Saxon villages of Transylvania, with their fortified churches that have not been touched since they were built between the 14th and 16th centuries. William captivated the large audience with his vivid descriptions of life in the rural mountains, superbly illustrated by a slide presentation of his photos from Romania.

This is the ninth Immrama Festival of Travel Writers' and the Immrama Organising Committee would like to thank all of those who made this year's festival possible, particularly those who attended the various events throughout the weekend. At the end of a magnificent weekend of literary events, audiences were left wondering what the 2012 festival would have in store for them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Conor O'Clery Interview On Pat Kenny

If you missed it listen back to Conor O'Clerys interview with Pat Kenny on Pat's RTE Radio show ... Conor chats about conflict hotels and his appearance at Immrama on Saturday June 11th 20011.

Download: Conor O'Clery Interview [mp3 format]

World Famous Explorers Come To Lismore

The countdown is on to the ninth Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing as the town and festival organisers are looking forward to welcoming an extraordinary gathering of internationally renowned travel writers who will enthral audiences at venues throughout the town from today Thursday, June 9 to 12.

The heritage town will be abuzz with talk of travel as the festival keynote speaker twice winning 'Journalist of the Year' and award winning author Conor O'Clery will present at 3pm on Saturday, June 11. During his time as Foreign Correspondent for the Irish Times from the Troubles in the north in the 1970's, to the Twin Towers attacks in 2001, Conor has  observed and explained the key events of the last 40 years with his trademark humour and compassion.

Blogger and award-winning author Rolf Potts will reveal some of his travel secrets including how to travel with no luggage! Rolf has reported from more than sixty countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveller, the New York Times Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler. Rolf will present alongside International travel writer and author Alex Von Tunzelman. Alex von Tunzelmann's latest book Red Heat was published in April to critical acclaim; it is a history of the Cold War in the Caribbean, focused around the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Castros and the Kennedys. This presentation will talk place at 8pm on Saturday, June 11.

Sara Wheeler is not your stereotypical polar explorer and world traveller will host an audience with sailor and poet Theo Dorgan on Friday June 10 at 8pm.

Writer and broadcaster Anthony Sattin has spent much of his life travelling in, and writing about, the Middle East and North Africa, He will talk of his travels and adventures at a Literary Breakfast in Ballyrafter House Hotel at 8.30am on the last day of the Lismore Immrama Festival, Sunday June 12.

Author of the title which inspired the 2011 Immrama Festival theme 'Along The Enchanted Way', William Blacker will close the festival on Sunday, June 12 at 7pm at Lismore House Hotel, where he will explore the festival theme 'Along the Enchanted Way… Travellers Past and Present'

The main guest speaker events at this year's Immrama are just one element of a wider programme of events, with something for all ages and interests. Blogfest! A Bloggers Clinic with Rolf Potts, Manchán Magan, Aine Goggins and Darragh Doyle will celebrate and discuss blogging and social media and their impact on writing, and will offer budding writers and bloggers an opportunity to develop their writing along with their social media savvy.

Festival goers young and old will have the opportunity to journey 'Along the Enchanted Way' with Travellers Past and Present' for the weekend. The wealth of local writing talent will be celebrated at the festival opening on Thursday, June 9, with author readings and the launch of new publications by writers Paul Clements, Áine Uí Fhoghlú , Alan Murphy and David Monagan at Lismore Castle Arts. The inaugural Dervla Murphy Teenage Travel Writing Award (in association with Waterford County Library Service), will be presented to the winner by Manchán Magan at 10am on Saturday morning in Lismore House Hotel.

Saturday, June 11 sees The Molly Keane Writers Award take place at 2pm in Lismore Branch Library and on Sunday, June 12, at noon former County Librarian and Historian Donald Brady will host a free presentation at The Courthouse Theatre on William Deane-Tanner of Belleville Park, Cappoquin alias William Desmond Taylor: Hollywood Actor, Renowned Silent-Film Director and Murder Victim. Eamon Maxwell, of Lismore Castle Arts will give a talk at 2pm on Sunday June 12on the Artist as Traveller, exploring how visual artists use the journey in their work.

Enjoy a Free Family Fun Sunday at the town's Millennium Park with Wobbly Circus and live music by Loudest Whisper- events include stilt-walking, face painting, music, dance and storytelling; or Canoe along the River Blackwater in the company of Jasper Winn, author of Paddle: A Long Way around Ireland. A Gregorian Mass will take place at St Carthage's Catholic Church, and a Farmers Market will commence at 10am at Lismore Castle Avenue.

The Immrama Festival of Travel Writing will be held in Lismore from June 9 to 12, 2011 and is generously supported by Fáilte Ireland, Waterford County Council, Eason Dungarvan, Waterford Airport and the Arts Council. Tickets and further information can be found on or by contacting 058 53803.
Waterford County Council
Arts Council
Failte Ireland
Foras na Gaeilge
Lismore Heritage
Lismore Mochuda
Lismore Heritage
Waterford Airport
Waterford It's a Feeling
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