For the season about to be in it, we've made some choice selections from the wealth of fine cultural content to be found across the national broadcaster this Christmas - you'll find the Xmas TV listings in full here, and the skinny on all things RTÉ Radio-related here.


Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village

RTÉ One, Wednesday December 28. 9.35pm

Director Aoife Kelleher’s follow-up to her acclaimed 2014 documentary One Million Dubliners offers another fascinating slice of modern Irish life, focusing on the casual surreality of life in Knock, a village with 2,000 residents that - thanks to the vision of the Virgin Mary that occurred there in 1879, leading to the place being declared a Marian Shrine - welcomes over one million pilgrims annually. Watch it on RTÉ Player here.

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Vocal Chords: Paul Brady

December 23rd, RTÉ Lyric fm, 7pm

Vocal Chords with Iarla ó Lionaird - the acclaimed sean nós singer and frontman with The Gloaming - is an award winning radio series exploring the journey of the singing voice and the stories of singers. The latest edition with Paul Brady (below) celebrates Brady's lifetime in song and songwriting.  

Christmas Carols from Cork

RTÉ One, Christmas Eve, 8.10pm

One for the books - from the grounds of University College Cork, Mary Kennedy hosts this seasonal concert from a host of talented musicians and performers. most notably Enya, who makes an extremely rare live appearance to chat with Mary and perform some choice Christmas carols.

Into the Mystic: An Irish Christmas

RTÉ Radio 1, Christmas Day, 1.15pm

Writer Joseph O'Connor muses on what makes an Irish Christmas. In the preview clip below, he begins his journey in Newgrange at dawn, just as the world awakens: 

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The Flag

RTÉ 1, Christmas Day, 11.00pm

Fresh from its run on the big screen, RTÉ One's big Christmas night movie reunites the team behind Pure Mule (writer Eugene O'Brien and director Declan Recks) for a knockabout caper comedy starring Pat Shortt:

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Marty Whelan meets Van Morrison

RTÉ lyric fm, St. Stephen's Day, 2.00pm

For many, one of the radio highlights of the year was Marty's candid interview with Van The Man, who (a) doesn't do many interviews and (b) rarely sounds as comfortable and engaged as he does here. Don't miss this extended version of their Marty In The Morning chat from earlier this year.

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Calvary

RTÉ One, St. Stephen's Day, 9.15pm

Writer-Director John Michael McDonagh might have come a cropper with this year's poorly received War On Everyone, but there's no doubting his skills as choice cinematic provocateur, in full effect in this acclaimed all-star pitch-black comedy, driven by a monumental performance from the mighty Brendan Gleeson.

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Louis Remembered

RTÉ lyric fm, December 28th, 7.02pm

Many great musicians have departed this mortal plain in 2016, few of them more beloved than Irish jazz titan Louis Stewart (below) - here, Blue Of The Night host Carl Corcoran pays tribute to the man via a memorable, career-encompassing interview conducted back in 2014.

The Clare Sound with Luka Bloom 

RTÉ Radio 1, Wednesday December 28. 2pm

John Murray spends the day in singer-songwriter Luka Bloom's beloved North Clare. Below, Luka sings one of his most famous songs, City of Chicago, and explains exactly why he wrote it... 

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In Search Of The Blue Nile

RTÉ Radio 1, Wednesday December 28. 10pm

Journalist and documentary maker Ken Sweeney tells the story of one of the great cult bands of them all, the Glaswegian trio behind melancholy '80s synth-pop masterpieces  A Walk Across the Rooftops and Hats, in the company of band members Paul Buchanan and Paul Moore. Better still, listen to it in advance here:

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Johnny Logan - Hold Me Now

RTÉ One, Thursday December 29. 9.30pm

Don't miss this candid documentary profile of the three-time Eurovision hero - the only performer to have won the Eurovision twice, while also writing Why Me for Linda Martin in 1992. Still a popular concert attraction in Europe, here Logan talks about the ups and downs of life in (and out) of the spotlight.

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