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RTÉ continues proud support of School Digital Champion Programme


RTÉ is proud to continue its support of the School Digital Champion Programme which culminates in the annual showcase (virtual) event this Wednesday 12th May. The Schools Digital Champion Programme has been funded and run by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in collaboration with the Department of Education for 6 years and goes from strength to strength.

The initiative aims to motivate, encourage and support second level schools in embracing digital technology through completing a project using their skills and technology to make a difference to their school/home, the wider community, or a local business.

Despite a challenging year, approximately 200 students from second level schools throughout Ireland will take part, by Zoom, in Wednesday’s School Digital Champion Programme Showcase Event and share some of the projects they have undertaken as part of this year’s programme.

In selecting a project for 2020/2021 students were asked to consider how they could use their skills and technology to:

  • Reduce waste.
  • Help combat climate change.
  • Improve energy efficiency.
  • Promote digital inclusion.
  • Find solutions to problems encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Develop tutorials for blended learning.
  • Promote online safety and wellbeing.

Projects submitted include:

  • Apps for students to pre-order school lunch and reduce food waste.
  • An energy-saving microbit for the school principal to identify where school lights or computers may have been left on after the school day.
  • An information App to help dementia sufferers with details relating to relatives, household tasks and with depression associated with the illness.
  • Supporting local business by creating a multi-platform online presence.
  • Internet classes for elderly people in the community.

As part of RTÉ’s support, RTÉ 2FM’s Stephen Byrne will MC Wednesday’s Showcase Event, RTÉ 2FM’s Head of Music, Adam Fogarty will talk to students about the importance of supporting young Irish artists and answer their questions and participating students will be given a chance to win a mojo (mobile journalism) workshop with RTÉ journalists for their school.

The School Digital Champion Programme welcomes all levels of ability and students work together in teams of up to four to complete their projects. Schools may enter a second team of four students if they have a second project proposal. Full class participation is encouraged, with the four students on the team leading the project. The focus is on participation rather than competition.

For more on the School Digital Champions Programme, click here.

RTÉ and Virgin Media in deal over Six Nations Rugby

Six Nations Rugby today confirmed that it has commenced joint long form contract discussions with broadcasters Virgin Media Television and RTÉ having agreed a joint proposal in principle.

It is planned that an agreement will ensure all three Six Nations Championships (Men’s Guinness Six Nations, Women’s Six Nations and Men’s Under 20’s tournaments) enjoy unprecedented coverage in the Republic of Ireland, benefiting from a first partnership of its kind between the two broadcasters and ensure Six Nations Rugby will remain live on ‘free-to-air’ television in Ireland.

Subject to final contractual agreements, it is envisaged that all three Championships will be shared in a balanced way which will see RTÉ again broadcast games from the Men’s Guinness Six Nations, while Virgin Media Television will diversify its coverage to include the Women’s Six Nations and Men’s Under 20’s Championships for the first time.

Dee Forbes, Director-General, RTÉ, said, “This agreement represents a win for the Irish public as two broadcasters come together to deliver the Six Nations Tournaments Free-to-Air, to the widest possible audience in Ireland.  As competition increases from global players in the sports rights market, we are delighted to work locally with Virgin Media Television, with the aim of serving Irish audiences with fantastic Six Nations action. RTÉ has a long and proud history in showcasing Irish rugby and is delighted to work with Six Nations and the IRFU to continue to strengthen that tradition”.

Welcoming the news, Ben Morel, Chief Executive of Six Nations Rugby said, “I am delighted that we have agreed the principles of a unique three-party partnership with Virgin Media and RTÉ, and that they have chosen the Six Nations to build such a strong and compelling collaboration around all our competitions which will be to the benefit of our sport, our unions and of Rugby fans in Ireland.”

Joining Morel in welcoming the news, Philip Browne, IRFU CEO, said, “Rugby is a participation sport and one that has always, and will always, strive to ensure a balance between finance and exposure.  It is a win-win for all involved to have the future of all three Championships move through the contact stages with partners that have a history of showcasing our game.  How we, and our broadcast partners, present our game is important, not only for the hear-and-now of the viewers sitting down together to watch a particular game, but for those who may be inspired to take up the ball and play in schools and clubs. We look forward to working with both Virgin Media and RTÉ on the promotion of our great game across men’s and women’s rugby.”

No further comment will be made at this point from any of the parties until the contract terms have been concluded.

New RTÉ series Back to Barrytown for Sunday nights from 16 May

Back to Barrytown celebrates The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van – 30 years on 

Three part documentary for Sunday nights from 16 May tells the story of Roddy Doyle’s much-loved Barrytown trilogy and meets the cast and crew from the films 

It’s been 30 years since the world was introduced to the Dublin suburb of Barrytown. The film version of The Commitments became a global phenomenon, not only because of the music, but because of the connection it made with people who’d never even heard of the Northside, let alone Barrytown. This fictional suburb and its characters were a microcosm – not only of Dublin or Ireland at that time, but of ordinary lives: their dreams and ambitions, their triumphs and failures – all of it documented in Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van.

Now, three decades on, the actor Colm Meaney – who featured across the trilogy of films – explores the world of Barrytown: the people who populated it, the real lives that inspired it, and those who helped create it. He peers through this fictional window into a brief moment in the history of modern Ireland: a time when the fortunes of the country and its citizens were changing utterly.

Back to Barrytown is a series of three documentaries that will focus on the stories, themes and characters of each of the three books, capturing the fanciful daydreams of escape and prosperity, and the down to earth realities of family, friendship and community.

The series will feature many of the well-known and some of the not so well-known cast and crew from the film trilogy including: Roddy Doyle, Colm Meaney, Brendan O’Carroll, Angeline Ball, Robert Arkins, Ruth Mc Cabe, Mark Geraghty, Stephen Frears, John and Ros Hubbard, and many more.

And to get viewers at home re-living and revelling in those heady 90s days, RTÉ One will air the movies The Commitments on Saturday 22 May (following the Eurovision final) and The Snapper on Saturday 29 May at 9.30pm.

RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival: Actors from Ireland’s amateur drama movement come together

Actors from Ireland’s amateur drama movement come together to mark the deferred
RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival


#RTEDramFest | #RTEIntervalAct

50 amateur drama groups compete annually for the coveted grand prix at the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival, normally held in May of each year in Athlone, Co Westmeath. In existence since 1953, the festival has once again been deferred to 2022. However, actors from a range of the regional festival locations have come together to mark what should have been the 69th RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival.

Recorded remotely using mobile devices, the special two-minute film is a reflection on the lockdowns and restrictions that have seen theatres go dark all over the country.

Regina Bushell, Festival Director, says: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on all in the performing arts, not least on Ireland’s network of 37 amateur drama festivals, many of which are at the core of creative and community life in their localities. We are enormously proud of this stunning piece of work, and the opportunity to showcase so many talented voices. As we look toward 2022, and hopefully an in-person festival, I’m mindful of the final reflection in this moving piece: we will start again.”

The Players featured in the final film are:

  • Majella Toolan, Ballinamore Drama Festival
  • Trisha Keane, Ballyshannon Drama Festival
  • Regina Bushell, Athlone Drama Festival
  • Clare Greer, Bangor Drama Festival
  • Rachael Elliott, Cavan Drama Festival
  • Tom Hanley, Clare Drama Festival
  • Tina Ward, Glenamaddy Drama Festival
  • Aidan Reidy, Kerry Drama Festival.
  • Padraig O’Toole, Mountmellick Drama Festival
  • Sean Hurson, Mid Ulster Drama Festival
  • Gayna Beresford, Newtownabbey Drama Festival
  • Connie Broderick, Rathangan Drama Festival
  • Sean Corcoran, Rush Drama Festival
  • Brendan Doyle, South Wicklow Drama Festival
  • Peter Davey, Western Drama Festival

RTÉ would like to thank Regina Bushell, Director of the RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival, and all involved, and Mairead Broderick, Secretary of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland, as well as all the festivals below, in addition to those above:

  • Castleblayney Drama Festival
  • Claregalway Drama Festival
  • Claremorris Drama Festival
  • Enniskillen Drama Festival
  • Kildare Drama Festival
  • Kilmuckridge Drama Festival
  • Kiltyclogher Drama Festival
  • Lislea Drama Festival
  • Newry Drama Festival
  • Newtownstewart Drama Festival
  • North Cork Drama Festival
  • Portadown Drama Festival
  • Roscommon Drama Festival
  • Shercock Drama Festival
  • South Leinster Drama Festival
  • Strabane Drama Festival
  • Tipperary Drama Festival
  • West Clare Drama Festival
  • West Cork Drama Festival
  • West Waterford Drama Festival
  • Wexford Drama Festival

About the Film: 

  • Audio by Jamzie, Bounce Sound
  • Graphics and Editing by Aileen Crossley, RTÉ
  • Produced and Created by Tracey Diamond, RTÉ
  • “Interval”, written by Joseph Hoban

About the Festival:

With funding from the Arts Council, the first All-Ireland Drama Festival was held in Athlone in April 1953. In 1959 the festival moved from the Sportex Hall to its present location at the Dean Crowe Theatre. Following Esso, Ericsson became the main sponsor from 2000 to 2003. In 2004 RTÉ stepped on board with the festival getting major prominence thanks to the facilities provided by the national broadcaster.

RTÉ is instrumental in the staging of the Awards Ceremony which, since 2005, has been held at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Athlone. The Festival Fringe has grown over the years into a full scale programme consisting of workshops, historic tours, exhibitions, and entertainment events taking place during the day at various venues throughout Athlone. The Fringe has involvement from other local arts groups, schools, the local business community and the municipal authorities and in recent years has hosted the hugely successful Schools Playwright Competition focusing on the writing talents of TY students in the Midlands.

In 1959, following their All Ireland success with Sive, Listowel Drama Group were invited by the Abbey Theatre to perform the play on the stage of the Queen’s Theatre, the Abbey’s temporary home after the fire in 1951 – a first for an amateur drama group. By 1979, a custom was established in which the Festival winners were offered the Peacock stage for a week’s run the following June. The practice continued for thirteen years until 1991, but was restored in 2011 with the inauguration of the Abbey Theatre Award, whereby one of the Festival finalists are chosen by the Abbey to stage their production at the Peacock.

RTÉ Statement following Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health

RTÉ is glad that, contrary to their previous stated position, the Department of Health has confirmed that it did hold confidential medical and educational information on children with autism that families were not aware of, under questioning by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health. At no point has RTÉ Investigates suggested this was illegal, nor did it claim that the Department of Health had only obtained this material directly.

RTÉ stands by its journalism in this report. It’s untrue to suggest that the Department of Health was not invited to participate by RTÉ Investigates. RTÉ wrote to the Department of Health on the 11th of March, two full weeks ahead of broadcast, to put the allegations to them. It’s also untrue to say there is no basis for what RTÉ Investigates reported. The truth matters. The point remains that the Department held sensitive information on vulnerable individuals that can only have originated in confidential consultations those individuals and their families had with medical professionals. Today’s session at the Oireachtas Health Committee proves that the Department of Health did hold medical and educational information on children which families were not aware of.


Poetry Day Ireland 2021: RTÉ lyric fm goes poetical with special broadcasts

RTÉ lyric fm | RTÉ Supporting the Arts

This Thursday, April 29th, is Poetry Day Ireland. An all-island celebration of the power of poetry run by Poetry Ireland, this year RTÉ lyric fm will broadcast six specially chosen poems to mark the day.

Voiced by actors Aoibhínn McGinnity and Enda Oates, the poems are:

  • TRASNÚ NA TEORANN by Caitríona Ní Chléirchín
  • JOURNEY BY NIGHT by Theo Dorgan
  • CHANCES ARE by Sarah Clancy ATLANTIS – A LOST SONNET by Eavan Boland
  • TURN AGAIN by Ciaran Carson

Listeners will hear the poems across the day, on Marty in the Morning, Classical Daytime, The Full Score, Classic Drive, Mystery Train, and Blue of the Night.

RTÉ Supporting the Arts is a proud partner for Poetry Day Ireland 2021. Now in its seventh year, this day-long annual celebration of the crafted word, spoken and written, is presented by Poetry Ireland in partnership with poetry lovers the length and breadth of the country.

In line with current restrictions, everyone is encouraged to take part in this year’s celebrations online from the safety of their own home.

Audiences can also listen to a selection of the poems on The full Poetry Day Ireland 2021 programme details can be found at

Notice of Three Rock Transmitter Outage

Outages will impact all RTÉ radio services on FM

2RN, the communication network operator, is performing essential works at the Three Rock transmitter in Dublin. As a result, there will be up to three one-hour outages on the transmitter between 0900 to 1730 on each of the following days:

  • Wednesday 28th, April 2021
  • Thursday 29th, April 2021
  • Friday 30th, April 2021

The outages will impact all RTÉ radio services on FM. In the event of loss of service, listeners on FM in the wider Dublin area can re-tune to the following frequencies:

  • RTÉ Radio 1 89.1
  • RTÉ 2FM 91.3
  • RTÉ lyric FM 98.7
  • RTÉ RnaG 93.5

Listeners can also get information on the full range of access options at

Celtic theme for 26th Dawn Chorus, Sunday 2nd May

The Dawn Chorus 2021 airs on RTÉ Radio 1 from 01:00 to 07:00, Sunday 2nd May.

RTÉ Radio 1’s annual live Dawn Chorus has become something of a national institution, with listeners across Ireland and around the globe tuning in during the early hours each May to hear a unique and uplifting celebration of birdsong and the natural world.

Winner both of the National PPI Radio Award for Innovation and the coveted International Rose d’Or award, the programme has become one of the broadcast highlights of the year. Featuring live birdsong and expert commentary, it offers an unmatched live celebration of our natural heritage.

This year’s programme comes at a time when interest in birdsong has never been higher. The COVID-19 crisis has led many people to a greater appreciation of our flora and fauna, and in particular for the songs of our wild birds. Last year, the joy and optimism engendered by birdsong was discovered by a lot of people for the first time, and it became a crucial source of comfort and entertainment for a great many of us during dark times. The Coronavirus restrictions that were introduced in the spring meant that most of us found ourselves suddenly confined to our homes, and the lack of background noise from traffic meant that the Dawn Chorus stood out to us like never before. It had always been there; it’s just that we had never really noticed it before.

‘Home base’ for this year’s live broadcast will be BirdWatch Ireland’s Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in Cork, where our main presentation team of Derek Mooney, Jim Wilson and Niall Hatch will introduce the Dawn Chorus and, while the birdsong builds in real-time, explain to listeners what our feathered friends are getting up as the sun rises. Across the country, Richard Collins, Éanna Ní Lamhna, Eric Dempsey and Terry Flanagan will also bring us the birdsong from their parts of Ireland, as the sun gradually breaks the horizon and the birds begin their performances.

Executive producer/presenter of the Dawn Chorus, Derek Mooney said:

“I am thrilled that we can broadcast the International Dawn Chorus Live this year. We have been broadcasting the Dawn Chorus on RTÉ Radio 1 in some form or another for 26 years but this year has special significance, particularly after having to cancel it last year, due to Covid-19. I am also happy that our Irish birds will potentially be heard by millions of listeners across Europe as the programme is available through the European Broadcasting Union.”

But that’s not all. This year the programme will have a distinctly Celtic flavour, featuring live feeds from Europe’s modern Celtic nations. Avian experts from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, amongst others will showcase their own local songbirds, and we will delve into their cultural history and significance. We are delighted to be partnering with our colleagues BBC Wales, BBC Scotland to bring you this broadcast first.

The birds won’t be the only ones making music for us. We are delighted to announce that Paddy Glackin and Dónal Lunny, two of Ireland’s most talented and acclaimed traditional musicians, will be joining our team to bring listeners a selection of Celtic tunes. A Dawn Chorus of a different kind, it promises to be an experience not to be missed.

Immediately prior to the live broadcast itself, we will be airing three documentaries from the Mooney Goes Wild archives, each celebrating a different wild bird species. The Curlew is one of Ireland’s most iconic, yet most threatened, birds and its mournful cry is synonymous with Irish wilderness. We explore just why it has become so rare and take an in-depth look at the enormous efforts being taken to save it.

The Common Eider is a sea-duck which, although it has never actually been seen by most people, it is well-known as the producer of one of the most luxurious and valuable materials in the natural world: eiderdown, with its unparalleled insulating properties. We explore the world of these colourful, charismatic ducks and help you get to know the bird behind the quilt.

Finally, we tell the tale of the highly migratory White Stork, a bird which is just a very rare visitor to Ireland but which is celebrated across mainland Europe as the harbinger of spring. Often featured in myths and legends across many disparate cultures and a renowned symbol of luck, fertility and good fortune, it is a species that in recent years has experienced a remarkable recovery from what seemed like certain doom.

So, join us on RTÉ Radio 1 from 01:00 on Sunday 2nd May for a very special celebration of our wild birds, an exploration of the shared natural heritage of the Celtic world and the finest free concert you will hear all year.

Derek Mooney added:

“I’m a light sleeper. It doesn’t take much to wake me up and sometimes it can be a right pain. That said, I love to hear the birds singing in the early morning. It’s got to be the most refreshing sound in nature. It’s like a deep clean of the ear canal.

“The Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius was convinced that we humans learned to sing by listening to the birds. I believe they can also teach us to listen.”

Praise be: The Handmaid’s Tale returns for fourth season

*See it first on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player​* 

RTÉ is delighted to announce that it will air the fourth season of The Handmaid’s Tale from Thursday 6 May at 10.30pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player. In the upcoming series, June (Elisabeth Moss) strikes back against Gilead as a fierce rebel leader, but the risks she takes bring unexpected and dangerous new challenges. Her quest for justice and revenge threatens to consume her and destroy her most cherished relationships.

The series stars Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Amanda Brugel, Bradley Whitford, and Sam Jaeger.

The series is produced by MGM Television and internationally distributed by MGM.

RTÉ’s Director of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Dermot Horan said: ‘We’re so pleased to be able to bring this new run in a highly-acclaimed and thrilling series to our viewers on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player as a ‘see it first’ this May, ahead of UK broadcast.’

RTÉ Reel in the Weekends as Audiences Engage with the Best of Irish

RTÉ reeled in the audience this weekend with an entertaining mix of the best of Irish. A tribute fit for a president, a look back at a year of highs and lows in 2011, a celebration of the Burren, Irish teams in action, and the final in Tommy Tiernan’s hit series, saw audiences come together in big numbers throughout the weekend.

Reeling in the Years, which looked back at a year marked by high profile visits by the Queen and Barack Obama, along with high unemployment and an economy in crisis, was watched by 502,000 and is currently the top watched programme on the RTÉ Player.

Friday night’s Late Late Show, which featured an interview at Áras an Uachtaráin with President Michael D. Higgins on his 80th birthday weekend, and other guests including Academy award-winner Kathy Bates, Imelda May, and Johnny Sexton, had 480,000 viewers and a 43% share. And Tommy Tiernan finished with a flourish, when he talked to director Neil Jordan, designer Joanne Hynes, and friends Elaine Murphy and Laura Sutton about their surrogate story. The show was watched by an average audience of 443,000.

Fair City had 360,000 viewers last night, as Carol revealed that she knows that Fr. Liam is Hayley’s dad. Not for the first time, will Hayley be the last to know? Burren: Heart of Stone series was watched by 351,000, and Brendan Courtney’s Keys to my Life, was watched by 336,000, while Saturday evening family quiz show Home Advantage, presented by Jennifer Zamparelli, saw an average of 238,000 viewers tune in.

And sport fans were treated to Friday Night Soccer and Women’s Six Nations on RTÉ2 and this coming weekend sees the final game in this year’s Women’s Six Nations as Ireland travel to face Italy; the Dublin Derby between Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians; and the European Gymnastics Championships from Switzerland.

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