Religious Programmes on RTÉ Television

Click here for information on RTÉ's Religious Programmes for Holy Week and Easter, 2014 On RTÉ Television and Radio...

Programmes You Can Believe In....

RTÉ Religious Programmes aim to Reflect, Interrogate, Celebrate and Explain the religious, ethical and spiritual life of contemporary Ireland. We broadcast over 100 hours each year on both television and radio, including documentaries, discussions, interviews, festival features and worship programmes, reflecting the full diversity of religious belief and practice in Ireland.

There is a lot of exciting new religious content on RTÉ at the moment, on a number of different platforms:

On RTÉ One, our ONCE IN A LIFETIME season explores the Irish way of death through a number of documentaries and a special episode of Joe Duffy's Spirit Level.

A Parting Gift gained unique access to the Anatomy Department of Trinity College Dublin, in order to offer a beautiful and sensitive look at the body donors' programme from the point of view of the donors, their loved ones, the students and the Trinity technicians. In the Irish Times, Bernice Harrison called it "superb." Find out why by watching it on the RTÉ Player.

In Guess Who's Dead, on Thursday 13th November, at 1015pm, Ardal O'Hanlon presents a wry, but affectionate film about the Irish fascination with death notices, which, in the newspapers, on the radio and online, have become a vital barometer of community life.

On Thursday 20th November, at 1015pm, One Million Dubliners offers a magical and moving insight into Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. The film, which is in cinemas at the moment, has already won the Bst Feature Documentary prize at the Galway Film Fleadh and garnered extraordinary reviews:

Now, you can see it for yourself on the small screen. But first, here's a short trailer to whet your appetite:

Sunday 16th November sees the return of Joe Duffy's Spirit Level, after a three year absence. Joe will be exploring the rich and varied world of contemporary Irish spirituality and ethics through a mixture of conversation, music and features. Join him at 5pm on RTÉ One.

Later, at 1030pm on Sunday 16th November, Bláthnaid ní Chofaigh is back with another series of The Moment of Truth: five searching interviews with individuals who have made life-changing religious or ethical choices. In this series, Blathnaid meets:

Sonny Jacobs, who, despite spending 17 years on death row for a double murder she did not commit, has found the peace of mind, strength and spiritual resources to forgive those who put her there.

Alan Gavigan , who despite being raised in a loving family, became a heroin addict in his teens and ended up estranged from his girlfriend and family and homeless. An evangelical Christian approached him on the street and offered him a lifeline in a Christian rehab centre in Wales. Alan got his life back together and married the girlfriend who’d dumped him during his junky years. He also found God and has since worked with other drug addicts, in prisons.

Lorraine Dempsey and her husband, Carl, took the agonising decision to turn off the life support machine for one of her twins, who got into difficulty after complications at birth. Remarkably, Rihanna survived, partly, it seems, because of the bond she formed with her stronger twin sister. She is now 10 and severely disabled, but a treasured part of the family.

Brian Hartnett is a DJ, who developed schizophrenia as a result of taking hallucinogenic drugs. He start hearing voices in his head, some of them aggressive and disturbing. After a while, however, he heard another voice, which he believes is Jesus. He knows this could be just his madness talking, but has still embraced the voice as a positive influence, which has helped him regain control of his life and even to help others as a mental health advocate.

Edward Horgan is a former Irish Army Commandant and grandfather, who risked life and liberty, trying to arrest George W Bush on Irish soil for what he saw as an illegal war in Iraq. He also risked his family home, suing the Irish State for what he saw as a breach of Irish neutrality, after the Government allowed American troops and hardware to make stop-overs in Shannon, en route for Iraq / Afghanistan. He lost his case, but kept his house, so feels vindicated and undeterred.

On Sunday 16th October, we will simulcast Mass, live from the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook, at 1100am on RTÉ One TV and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252. The celebrant is Fr Paul Kelly and music is led by the Maynooth Gospel Choir, directed by Brian Kennedy.

That's followed at 1145am on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra by a service of worship from Abbey Street Methodist Church, Dublin City. The service is led by the Rev. Dr. John Stephens with preaching from the Rev. Brian Griffin. Music is from the Dublin Central Mission Praise Group.

If you would like your church or faith community to feature in our output, please contact me at or on +353 1 208 4586. Thanks.

You may have read that RTÉ's Longwave service will close on 27th October, at which point much of our religious content on RTÉ Radio will only be accessible on digital platforms: Radio 1 Extra,, DAB and via your mobile or television. For more information about how to access that content, visit

In the meantime, listeners on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra can enjoy an enhaced array of religious output on Sunday mornings, as Michael Comyn hosts SUNDAY SPIRIT - three hours of religious content every week, from 10.00am to 1.00pm, built around the centre-piece of our Mass and Service, from 1100-1230. He'll be joined by guests to explore contemporary themes and issues of belief. He'll also be sharing some of the world's best religious programme-making, from BBC World Service and CTVC's Things Unseen podcasts. Join him.

If you have news you'd like to share with Michael or would like to appear on the programme, you can contact him at

A reminder that Gay Byrne has recently published a second collection of edited interviews from THE MEANING OF LIFE. Those interviews with twenty of Gay's guests from the television series, are topped and tailed with his personal reflections on each of them. With an element of the sale of each book going to the Peter McVerry Trust and to the Christina Noble Children's Foundation, The Meaning of Life 2 (Gill & Macmillan) is the perfect stocking-filler for Gay's many fans.

We are also open to suggestions and stories for our various Factual series: Would You Believe?, The Meaning of Life, The Moment of Truth and Beyond Belief. Just email me: Thanks.

Roger Childs, Head of RTÉ Religious Programmes.

What's On

RTÉ Religious Websites:

  • iWitness
  • The Meaning of Life
  • Spirit Level
  • Would you believe?
  • Beyond Belief
  • West of Mecca
  • Who's Afraid of Islam?
  • Radio 1
  • Radio 1