Thursday, June 10, 2010

Countdown to Immrama 2010 - Lismore Festival of Travel Writing

I am too busy to write a proper post these days as I am getting swept up in the flow of the preparations for Immrama 2010 - our literary festival of travel writing in Lismore. I blogged about the launch here and also last year's festival here. We are looking forward to this year's festival as there are two great keynote speakers - Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Tim Severin.

Both are speaking on Saturday June 12, which happens to be our wedding anniversary. For the past 7 years this has fallen during the festival so it's subsumed into the events and celebrated on the hoof, rather than romantic candlelit dinners-for-two. We're more likely to be at the gig and then at whatever pub the festival crowd gathers for the evening afterwards - one of the many in Lismore, where we enjoy the post-event celebration and the post-mortem of the event, and chat to the presenters as they usually come along.

So next week I hope to post on the festival and how it went. There has been great national radio coverage and also press coverage this year, with interviews on Arena and the Pat Kenny Show on Radio One (RTÉ - Ireland's national broadcaster) with Pico Iyer and Ranulph Fiennes respectively.

Pico Iyer is a new name for me, and he sounds really interesting, having a philosophical approach to travel, reminiscent of Alain de Botton, in that he writes about the experience of air travel and airports and how we get hung up on the destination and ignore the journey. Maybe that's why I like slow travel - overland rail and road trips appeal far more than mad stressful flights and jet lag!

There is a film tonight in the Courthouse Theatre on Lismore's own travel writer extraordinaire, Dervla Murphy. A retrospective on her life, the film crew have been following her for the last year and this is the result, and it is going to be screened over the weekend for the punters at the festival as tonight is invite only.

Our book club (real, not virtual bloggers' one!) are planning to go to Sunday's Literary Breakfast with who sounds like a treat of a travel writer, Damien Lewis, in Ballyrafter House Hotel. He is another new name and we are looking forward to his talk while we enjoy the full Irish heart-attack-on-a-plate breakfast!

Meanwhile we pray for fine weather as it's been a very rainy week so far, as you can see from the raindrops on the lovely Irises in the garden the other evening. As it's Exam Time -Leaving and Junior Cert State Exams are in full swing - we can expect good weather - it's one of life's ironies that the weather is always sweltering during the weeks of the exams!

Today is fine and dry but Monday's Bank Holiday was a washout. Good for the farmers and gardeners, and it was great that the weekend to then was blissfully sub-tropical. The Farmers' Market looked positively Provençal, as in the photos even though these ones were taken the previous weekend - in the interests of blog integrity I can't pass them off as last weekend's as one already put in an appearance in another post!

Carmen at Lismore Castle was the inaugural opera of the new Lismore Music Festival, and was widely acclaimed locally, though the Irish Times' Michael Dervan was less fulsome in its praise. They had two performances, and if it takes off in future years it will be good for Lismore and have a knock-on effect on Immrama. We noticed this year that every preview in the national media for Carmen also referenced Immrama so we will become known as a cultural watershed for Munster and Co. Waterford.
(I have to declare an interest on a few fronts: I look after first aid, hubby Jan is the Festival Administrator and graphic designer son Martin designed the logo you see above for the first Immrama when he was still in secondary school.)


Tom McMillan said...

Hi Catherine,

Your blog caught my attention with your reference to Alain de Botton and slow travel. With regard to this I thought you might be interested in a website I recently launched -

Good luck with the Immrama Festival.

Stephanie V said...

This sounds like a wonderful event. I wish you all success!

BTW, this looked like a very proper post to me. I enjoyed reading all about the plans.

Catherine said...

Tom - your site and idea sound great especially in this era of uncertainty with flying and volcanoes etc! Not planning any trips right now but will indeed flag your site and pass on to anyone who's interested!

Stephanie V - it was a great success and I'll be posting on it any day now. With photos.
All the best, Catherine.