The Poetry Programme

The Poetry Programme

Sunday at 7.30pm

The Poetry Programme Wednesday 25 December 2019

Olivia O’Leary explores the diverse and vibrant world of poets and poetry in The Poetry Programme on Sundays at 7:30 pm.

You can contact the Poetry Programme by emailing, tweeting @PoetryProgRTE, or on our Facebook page

The spring 2020 series of the Poetry Programme has now ended. The programme will return for a new series in the autumn. 

You can also listen back to all previous programmes in the Programme Archive (see above right).

The Poetry Programme: For everyone who loves poetry. And those who just don’t know it yet.

A Rockfinch production for RTÉ.

Series Producer: Claire Cunningham. Researcher: Adam Wyeth. Executive Producer for RTÉ: Elizabeth Laragy

The Poetry Programme

The Poetry Programme

An hour-long Christmas Poetry Programme from Kilkenny Castle with poetry, music and great conversation. Presented by Olivia O'Leary. A Rockfinch production for RTÉ.

The Poetry Programme, Christmas Day 2019

In a very special Christmas Poetry Programme at 7 pm on Christmas Day on RTÉ Radio 1, presenter Olivia O’Leary brings us an hour of poetry, music and entertaining conversation, in a programme made in collaboration with Poetry Ireland and Kilkenny Castle, now in the care of the Office of Public Works for 50 years.

Joining Olivia in the Picture Gallery of Kilkenny Castle are poets Enda Wyley, Victoria Melkovska and Thomas McCarthy, who tell us stories of the Christmases of their childhoods. Enda recalls a bicycle trip to collect a special Christmas present for her husband, which inspired a poem. Victoria, who grew up in Ukraine, then part of the USSR, gives us a flavour of poetry in Ukrainian and remembers a time when religious practice might have got you arrested. Thomas McCarthy brings us back to a time when, even as a very young boy, Christmas meant hard work delivering newspapers and magazines.

Poet Adam Wyeth reads one of his own poems, inspired by a winter’s walk, and actor Sean Campion reads a selection of poems which conjure up Christmas and winter scenes. Two members of Kilkenny’s Rhyme Rag Ensemble, Aaron O’Dea and Orla Browne, perform the classic ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, probably the best known Christmas poem in the United States.

The programme ends with a song by singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy, whose ethereal voice soars through the magnificent Picture Gallery of Kilkenny Castle.

The Poetry Programme is available to listen back to after broadcast on the RTÉ radio player.

The Poetry Programme is a Rockfinch production for RTÉ. Series Producer: Claire Cunningham.

(Photo taken by Vicky Comerford)

L-R Thomas McCarthy, Ailbhe Reddy, Sean Campion, Olivia O’Leary, Adam Wyeth, Orla Browne, Aaron O’Dea, Victoria Melkovska, Enda Wyley

About The Show

Olivia O'Leary explores the diverse and vibrant world of poets and poetry. A Rockfinch production for RTÉ.

Music Played on the Show



Ailbhe Reddy




Contact the Show


Tweet @PoetryProgRTE

Facebook page

Presented by Olivia O'Leary


Ways to Listen

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