Arena With Seán Rocks

    Monday - Friday 7-8pm


    Thursday 22nd January


    Dublin band Subplots are live in studio Subplots are Phil Boughton and Daryl Chaney and they’re joined on drums by Daryl’s brother Ross Chaney. ‘Autumning’, the new album from Subplots, will be launched on Friday, 30th January, at the Workman’s Club in Dublin.

    Kevin Gildea

    The Kevin Institute of a Better You is a new essay from Kevin Gildea

    Book Review + Review of Wolf Hall

    The Girl on the Train is the debut novel from Paula Hawkins. Described as a modern “Rear Window”, it centres on a woman fantasising about the people living in the homes that she passes on her daily commute. Declan Burke has been reading it for us. He also watched the first episode of Wolf Hall which aired on BBC 2 last night

    Film Reviews

    Three new movies up for review: an 80’s New York Crime drama A Most Violent Year, futuristic thriller Ex Machina starring Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, and a remake of the 1970s film The Gambler starring Mark Wahlberg. Brogen Hayes and Chris Wasser discuss

    Wednesday 21st January

    Essay: Baz Jan Ader

    Sara Baum's essay is about a Dutch conceptual artist, performance artist, photographer and filmmaker. He lived in Los Angeles for the last twelve years of his life before he set sail from the US to the Netherlands and disappeared.

    Sarah Walker

    ‘The Boxing Diaries’ is a new exhibition from artist Sarah Walker. This series of paintings explores the sport of boxing but from a particular perspective. Sarah joins the programme from our Cork studio...

    Dennis O'Driscoll's Poems

    Two years ago, the poet Dennis O’Driscoll died on Christmas Eve. He had published 9 collections of poetry as well as a series of interviews with his friend and colleague Seamus Heaney, “Stepping Stones”. Dennis O’Driscoll’s final collection of poetry, ‘Update’ has been published, and Kathy D’Arcy has been reading it for us.

    Pan Pan Mentoring

    Pan Pan Theatre have instigated a new Mentoring Programme for artists who have a classic story, an inkling of a song, a must see film or play; all art begins with one person and the germ of an idea. this year’s mentor Tim Crouch and one of the participants Kate Heffernan are in studio

    Tuesday 20th January

    Book Review: Quarantine

    Louisa Cameron of Raven Books bookshop runs book groups and clubs for people of all ages. She has chosen the book ‘Quarantine’ by Jim Crace as a ‘great read’ and she’s in studio to discuss it.

    Theatre of War Symposium

    The Theatre of War is a Symposium launching this Thursday at the Abbey Theatre which includes talks, panel discussions, readings and performances examining how Conflict is represented on Stage

    Peter Sirr

    The Rooms is the latest collection of poetry from Dublin-based poet Peter Sirr who is in studio to talk about his work

    Monday 19th January

    Benjamin Grosvenor

    Hailed as a prodigy in 2004 at the young age of 11 having been a finalist in the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year, he was named by the Telegraph as one of the Top 10 Britons of 2012. He returns to the National Concert Hall in Dublin this Sunday as part of their International Concert Series.


    Burning Wishes is a dark 4-part comedy about two brothers trying to scatter their friend’s ashes. It’s the first of 5 mini-series being released for free on the RTE Player as part of Storyland. In studio is the writer of Burning Wishes, Cian McGarrigle

    Book Review: The Possibilities

    The Possibilities is the second novel from American author Kaui Hart Hemmings. Her debut novel, The Descendants, was adapted into an Oscar winning movie and in this new book she once again looks at a family dealing with grief. Edel Coffey has been reading it.

    Domhnall Gleeson

    Domhnall Gleeson talks to Seán about his new film Ex-Machina

    Friday 16th January

    Thomas Pynchon

    One of the films nominated for best adapted screenplay in this year's Oscars is Inherent Vice, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Joaquin Phoenix which is due out in cinemas here later this month. It’s adapted from the 2009 novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon and to tell us more about the author is Mark Quinn.

    Kevin Gildea, Part 2

    Kevin Gildea's experience on a hospital trolley continues.

    Thursday 15th January

    Philip Hammond

    Philip Hammond is the featured composer at the RTE NSO Horizons season on Jan 27th a concert which will feature his new piano concerto and ‘Miniatures and Modulations’ an album of solo pieces, based on songs collected by Edward Bunting. Philip joins us from Belfast to tell us more

    An Essay by Kevin Gildea

    Kevin's essay is called 'On a Hospital Trolley, Part 1'. You can hear the second part of this essay tomorrow night.

    The Walworth Farce

    Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce opened at the Olympia theatre in Dublin last night. There was a lot of excitement around this production which stars brothers Domhnall and Brian Gleeson and their dad Brendan onstage together for the first time. Sophie Gorman has been to see it.

    Film Reviews and Oscar Nominations

    The latest from director Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper - American Sniper. Tense music drama Whiplash, and a biopic of the British war veteran Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth. Eithne Shortall and Stephen Boyd have been to see them. The Oscar Nominations were revealed today, a short discussion on who is in and who was left out.

    Wednesday 14th January

    Paul G Smyth

    Paul G Smyth is an improv pianist who begins a series of collaborations with other improv and free jazz musicians from around the world at the National Concert Hall

    Ben Lerner

    10:04 is the new book by American poet, novelist, essayist and critic Ben Lerner. Focusing on the events and relationships of a year in the life of an author trying to fulfil his contract by expanding a short story into a novel, the book explores the many ways in which we use fiction to organize our realities.

    Theatre Club

    Power-Hungry Robots, Moving Statues and Hardcore Pornography all feature in Theatre Club’s annual showcase of New Plays. In studio are theatrical producer Shane Byrne, musical producer Natasha Duffy, and we hear an extract from one of the performers Brida Larkin…

    Paul Muldoon

    One Thousand Things Worth Knowing is a new collection of poetry from Paul Muldoon, his first since the passing of his teacher and mentor Seamus Heaney. He talks to Seán from New York.

    Tuesday 13th January

    Looking - The TV Series

    Looking is a HBO Television series telling the stories of 3 gay men in San Francisco. Richard Lane, of the UK charity Stonewall, explains how this series differed from previous TV manifestations of gay life.

    Brave New Voices Poetry Competition

    For the first time ever this year, an Irish Team will be competing at the Brave New Voices Poetry Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, with highlights broadcast on US network HBO. Two of the young poets, who will represent Team Ireland, Melissa Kavanagh and Stephen Murray, are in studio to explain the concept

    Apples of the Golan

    When Israel seized land from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War, most of the Syrian Arab inhabitants left. Apples of the Golan which opens at the IFI cinema this week looks at the lives of the people left behind

    Wolf Hall

    The television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies airs next Wednesday 21st January on BBC. Edel Coffey joins Seán in studio to discuss the unique appeal of these books and the much-anticipated TV series.

    Monday 12th January


    ‘Doonreagan’ is the name of a play which explores a period in the life of the poet Ted Hughes spent in Connemara with his lover Assia Wevill. Ann Henning Jocelyn is the writer of this play, and she joins us now from our Galway studio, along with Tara Breathnach, who plays the part of Assia Wevill in this production.

    The Devil's Spine Band

    A live musical show combining Spaghetti Western, Japanese Butoh Dance and free improvisation runs this week at Dublin’s Project Arts Centre. Director/Composer Trevor Knight explains

    Book Review: Border Angels

    Arlene Hunt is in studio to review the latest book by Anthony J Quinn

    Film: Testament of Youth

    James Kent, director of film “Testament of Youth”, a story of love, war and remembrance based on the memoir of the same name, talks to Seán.

    Friday 9th January

    Album reviews

    Simon Maher and Róisín Dwyer review the sampler/mini album from Madonna ahead of release of “Rebel Heart”, “Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper” by Panda Bear and “Viet Cong” by Viet Cong

    Essay: turning 50

    Kevin Gildea with an essay about how it felt to celebrate his 50th birthday

    Fred Wiseman, director of documentary 'National Gallery'

    Director Fred Wiseman talks about his career and his latest film “National Gallery” -a documentary about life inside the National Gallery in London

    'City of Dis' by David Butler

    David Butler talks about his latest novel “City of Dis”, three inter-connecting stories influenced by the story of the 9 Circles of Hell in Dante’s “Inferno” (published by New Island)

    Arts News

    with Rachel Breslin - BAFTA nominations announced, actor Rod Taylor dies, Elvis's first-ever recording (a track called 'My Happiness') sells for $300,000

    Thursday 8th January

    Elliott Smith documentary

    Abie Philbin Bowman previews “Heaven Adores You”, a new documentary about the late American musician Elliott Smith

    Book review: 'The Thing About Prague' by Rachael Weiss

    Mary McGill reviews “The Thing About Prague” by Rachael Weiss, her second memoir about living in that city (published by Allen & Unwin)

    Film reviews

    Gavin Burke and Sinead Gleeson review “Into The Woods”, “Foxcatcher” and “Taken 3”

    Arts News

    with Rachel Breslin - the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will go to print next week, Meryl Streep defends Russell Crowe's comments about women, ageism and Hollywood, movie 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' gets R-rating in the USA

    Wednesday 7th January

    Eleanor Tiernan and the 'National Therapy Project'

    Comedian Eleanor Tiernan talks about her show 'National Therapy Project” - a comedic form of therapy for the country

    Music For Galway

    Pianist Finghin Collins and soprano Helen Kearns talk about performing at Music For Galway’s “Midwinter Festival” opening on the 16th of January and the forthcoming Cellisimo season

    Martina Evans, poet

    Poet and novelist Martina Evans talks about her writing career and her latest poetry collection “Burnfort, Las Vegas” (published by Anvil Press)

    Shortlist for Choice Music Prize

    Jim Carroll on the 10 bands shortlisted for this year’s Choice Music Prize

    Arts News

    with Alan Corr - line-up announced for Dublin's Tradfest 2015, the creator of The Sopranos on the bill for this year's film-making Digital Biscuit event, new Irish soap 'Red Rock' begins tonight on TV3

    Tuesday 6th January

    Music in 2015

    Tony Clayton Lea previews the new albums we can look forward to in 2015

    Irish premiere of opera 'Ormindo'

    Kathleen Tynan, producer of a modern interpretation of the Francesco Cavalli comic opera “Ormindo” which is being staged by the Royal Irish Academy of Music

    Rob Doyle and 'Frederick & The Golden Dawn' by Kevin Nolan

    Author Rob Doyle reads the sleeve notes he wrote for the album “Frederick & The Golden Dawn” by his friend Kevin Nolan

    Reading 100 books in a year

    Rick O’Shea explains how he got on with his challenge to read 100 books in 2014

    'Joseph' by John MacKenna

    John MacKenna explains why he re-imagined the character of Joseph of Nazareth in his new novel “Joseph” (published by New Island Books)

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