|Me and Jan at the launch (photo by David Clynch)|
The 2012 festival will be held from June 7-10, and bookings are already flooding in. Jan is the administrator and this was his first year doing the presentation for the launch, announcing the speakers and presenters. In previous years the manager of the Lismore Heritage Centre did the announcement presentation, but as she has moved to greener pastures as Tourism Officer for Co. Waterford she is no longer involved in Immrama. So this was a new challenge for the committee as they did all the preparatory work themselves. Jan has been working hard at contacting the speakers and arranging the logistical minutiae of travel, accommodation and venues right from the end of the last Immrama in June 2011.
|Immrama Committee at the Launch|
|Theme of Immrama 2012|
|Lord William Burlington and Jan|
After the President and Chairman of Immrama spoke, and the County Manager officially launched the Festival, Jan presented the 2012 programme. There's a great group of speakers this year, with the theme of the festival "In The Footsteps of Marco Polo" and will feature a tribute to the late famed travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, who died last June and news of whose passing filtered through during Immrama 2011's Friday night talk and was mourned by many of the speakers who felt they'd lost a friend and mentor.
Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet, and Colin Thubron, the renowned travel writer who has written on The Silk Road and Siberia, will be the main speakers on the Saturday. There's a panel discussion on the Legacy of Patrick Leigh Fermor on the Friday night with Jan Morris making a return visit to Lismore after two years, and the aforementioned Colin Thubron and Tony Wheeler, who will also be joined by Leigh Fermor's biographer Artemis Cooper, who is married to Antony Beevor, and this will be a fascinating evening.
|Jan presenting the programme|
|Audience at the launch in the Pugin Room|
Anthony Sattin will speak at the Sunday Breakfast in Ballyrafter, a year late as he was scheduled for 2011 but fell ill at the last minute and had to cancel. The final speaker on Sunday night is Diana Gleadhill who met some Lismore friends when travelling in Ethiopia last year, and who has written on her travels on the Silk Road including a trip to the Kamchatka peninsula.
|Mike Foley serenading Niamh in his bar!|
|Donal, Edward and Jan in Foley's on The Mall pub|