At the close of a year that has turned our lives upside down, Panti Bliss hosts a special edition of Pantisocracy exploring what gives us solace and comfort and what inspires us to find the light, even in darkness.

On Christmas Eve, by the fireside of a Joycean living room, she brings together a gathering of conversation and song.

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In the Panti Monologue, Panti Bliss describes how lockdown two hit her very hard and how a small bundle of fur, a new spirit animal in her life, helped her through it.

Joining her at the James Joyce Centre in Dublin's inner city are singer and songwriter Maija Sofia, actor Aaron Monaghan, traditional singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and her husband, folklorist Billy Mag Fhloinn.

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Hear Maija Sofia, a Galway native, whose name comes from her Finnish grandmother, share her song The Gold Shoes and how dancing at home, even by herself, has been one of her comforts, in 2020.

Billy Mag Fhloinn talks of the loss of 'collective joy’ this year and how we’ve all come to realise it, that sense of losing oneself in a group, whether a mass or a match, a gig or a family wedding, is essential to our human soul. Muireann and Billy perform their version of the fairy song, Port na bPucaí, with Billy playing the mysterious yaybahar.

But given the night we are together Muireann sings a beautiful old traditional song Oiche Ud i mBeithil of a Christmas Eve in Bethlehem.

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Maija Sofia, whose album Bathtime showcases her work, loves folk songs too and she reaches into her repertoire to perform an English one - The Trees They Do Grow High.

Aaron Monaghan swaps his memories of growing up in a big family in Cavan and how his childhood love of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has prompted him and Bryan Burroughs to create a two-man show around the story, which he says is the essence of the season. "It’s a time of opening our hearts, and that story of Marley’s awakening captures it."

And to close our Christmas session Muireann and Billy treat us to their gorgeous version of the classic goodbye song The Parting Glass.