RTÉ Unveils full range of Election 2020 Campaign Coverage

RTÉ Election 2020. Your Vote. Your Voice

As the General Election 2020 campaign gets under way, RTÉ is set to undertake a record number of broadcasts to reflect voices and issues from all around Ireland across television, radio and online. RTÉ presenters including Miriam O’Callaghan, Caitriona Perry, Rachael English, Claire Byrne, Mary Wilson, Ray Kennedy, Aine Lawlor, David McCullagh, Cormac Ó hEadhra and Katie Hannon will be coming live from constituencies throughout the country and hearing the views of the people.

With a major leaders debate live from Galway for the first time, and a range of RTÉ’s biggest TV and radio programmes live from towns and cities, RTÉ will provide coverage from all 39 constituencies over the next three weeks in a mammoth outside broadcast schedule.

Throughout the election, RTÉ News & Current Affairs campaign coverage will be ‘digital-first’.A special Election 2020 index on RTÉ News online and on the RTÉ News Now app was launched the moment the election was called, housing analysis and insights from RTÉ’s political team as well as specialist correspondents on the big election issues. Every day, Campaign Daily will follow all the day’s events, online and on air, with a live online tracker pulling in the latest video and reporting from RTÉ’s campaign correspondents on the election trail. All 39 constituencies will be profiled in an interactive map to give online users the lie of the land right across the country. While five evenings a week, Aine Lawlor and Colm O’Mongain will pull together the day’s events in a special Election 2020 edition of the Your Politics podcast. RTÉ is launching a new online series On the Trail, on RTÉ Player and RTÉ’s YouTube channel. Featuring reporter Richard Downes taking a light-hearted look at the campaigns, trying to find out how they’re put together, what’s involved in planning them, what the Irish people make of the parties’ proposals, and what happens when the camera leaves town.

RTÉ One will feature two live television Leaders Debates during the campaign, on Monday 27th January and Tuesday 4th February. Broadcast from NUI Galway, Claire Byrne Live general election debate has invited leaders from seven political parties to take part, with questions from a live audience of over 300 people. The university is the academic home to over 19,000 students in its spectacular location boasting the unique landscape and culture of the West of Ireland and as the city begins its European Capital of Culture role.

With just days before the polls open, Prime Time will broadcast RTÉ’s final television leaders debate on Tuesday 4th February in the RTÉ studios in Dublin, with the leaders of the two biggest political parties invited. Both debates will be followed by a live reaction programme, The Spin Room.  

Election 2020: Bryan Dobson Interviews… is a brand new series of must watch in-depth interviews with political party leaders, to be broadcast at 7.00pm on RTÉ One.  

Prime Time will be broadcasting live from around the country during the campaign with special invited audiences discussing issues affecting long-distance commuters, small towns and villages, and urban communities. On Thursday’s, Richard Downes will be joined by reporters Maggie Doyle and Barry Lenihan for PT Extra on RTÉ One for a late night look at the ongoing events of the campaign.

RTÉ News flagship programmes the Six One News and Nine O’Clock News will also be on the road, broadcasting from Limerick, Meath, Waterford, Louth, Offaly and Mayo, along with coverage of all the day’s main news stories. RTÉ News will also have a dedicated team following the campaign trail along with the big stories and analysis from political correspondents Mícheál Lehane and Paul Cunningham.

The Week in Politics with Aine Lawlor will double its political coverage, keeping a sharp eye on the campaign as it unfolds with an additional programme every Wednesday night on RTÉ One television during the campaign. 

From today, RTÉ Radio 1 takes to the road to meet voters, challenge candidates and highlight the concerns and hopes of communities across Ireland. Starting this evening [Friday] with a debate from the so-called “constituency of death” – Dublin Bay North – Drivetime with Mary Wilson will broadcast live from more than a dozen locations between now and polling day, ranging from the Border counties to Cork City and from Wexford in the sunny south-east to Sligo in the north-west. Drivetime’s team of reporters will be on the ground across the nation throughout Election 2020, following candidates and exploring the local stories that will influence the shape of the 33rd Dáil. Morning Ireland is hitting the road too, exploring the issues that matter in different constituencies including Ennis, Waterford, Tipperary and Tullamore. The programme will also have interviews with the party leaders, alongside probing analysis.

Back in studio, Today with Sean O’Rourke will feature interviews with the party leaders, beginning with Solidarity-People Before Profit on Tuesday 21 February and continuing with Sinn Féin President Mary Lou-McDonald and co-leader of the Social Democrats Roisin Shortall on Wednesday 22 February. Issues and policy matters will shape the coverage on the News at OneSaturday with Cormac Ó hEadhra and The Late Debate with Katie Hannon. On Tuesday 18 February, Katie will host a live debate on health, featuring out-going Health Minister Simon Harris of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly and Louise O’Reilly of Sinn Féin. The programme will also take the debate out of the capital, hosting issue-led shows in Athlone and Cork. And each Sunday, This Week will present in-depth analysis of the key campaign issues. News at One with Claire Byrne and Aine Lawlor will be out an about during the final week of the campaign with outside broadcasts from Wicklow, Drogheda, Limerick and Sligo. There will be a satirical take on the week’s election news with Callan’s Kicks each Friday evening.

news2day will provide a range of coverage for young viewers during the campaign helping to inform and educate children on RTÉ2. Primary school children will be asked to send in their questions for the main party leaders along with news2day‘s popular explainer on the voting system and daily facts.

Each day, Nuacht RTÉ le TG4 will cover the main events of the election campaign nationally and in various constituencies, on television, online and on social media. Nuacht will have a strong online presence with up to date constituency profiles and campaign updates from reporters in the field on the RTÉ News Now app, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

There will be six special campaign Vóta 2020 programmes presented by Páidí Ó Lionaird, Eimear Ní Chonaola and Siún Nic Gearailt re-broadcast on RTÉ News Now. Three of these will be co-presented from Donegal, Kerry, and Galway West constituencies.

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta will be providing comprehensive nationwide coverage of the election campaign throughout the run-up to General Election 2020 from their bases in Kerry, Galway, Donegal and Dublin.  As part of that coverage, Cormac Ó hEadhra will present a special edition of Nuacht a hAon at 1.30 pm on Friday 24 January from RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta HQ in Casla. Galway West politicians, including Éamon Ó Cuív FF, Mairéad Farrell SF, Niall Ó Tuathail Soc Dem, and Seán Kyne FG, will be in studio to answer questions from local secondary students.

Current affairs programmes Adhmhaidin, Nuacht a hAon, Tús Áite and An tSeachtain le Máirín Ní Ghardhra will provide analysis of all elements of the electoral campaign, and regional magazine shows Iris Aniar, Barrscéalta and An Saol ó Dheas, will focus on the most pressing questions for the electorate in Galway, Mayo, Donegal, Kerry, Cork and Waterford.

RTÉ and Irish Aid Launch New Touring Exhibition, “50 Countries, 50 Stories

Produced by KMF Productions, the RTÉ television series What in the World? has filmed in over 50 countries across the globe. To mark that milestone, as well as almost two decades on the air, RTÉ and Irish Aid have commissioned a brand-new travelling exhibition, ‘50 Countries, 50 Stories’. A significant campaign, produced by RTÉ’s corporate marketing team, will air across radio, social and digital.

MC’d by RTÉ’s Colm Ó Mongáin, guests viewed the new dedicated exhibition at a special launch yesterday evening. The exhibition brings a wide range of stories together for the first time. Throughout 2020, Irish audiences will have the chance to see this free exhibition as it tours libraries across the country.

Said Peadar King, producer and presenter of What in the World?: “RTÉ’s global affairs series What in the World? has been bringing astonishing stories into Irish homes for almost 20 years. From stories of hope and inspiration to stories of oppression and suppression, the series has examined lives lived amongst serious and persistent poverty, and a wide range of complex social and political situations across the developing world.”

Colm O’Callaghan, Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual said: “50 countries is a remarkable record; of storytelling, of investigation and of insight. To see it all translated into this fine travelling exhibition says something compelling about the unique role of public media in educating, informing and enlightening. Exceptional stories are beautifully captured in this ambitious exhibition, ambitious not only in the breadth of stories covered, but also in the range of destinations we will cover in libraries around the country.”

Ciarán Cannon TD, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, said: “What in the World? gives a voice to those in the majority world, and demonstrates how our fellow humans are confronting the myriad problems they encounter on a daily basis, many of which threaten their very survival. Irish people have a long tradition of reaching out in solidarity. Our own national story, our history and our experience of development informs our development programme. This exhibition offers people all over Ireland the opportunity to learn and to consider the complex global contexts that underpin a world in need of our assistance ad our understanding.”

The event also marked the launch of a new book, War, Suffering and the Struggle for Human Rights by Peadar King.

What in the World? 50 Countries 50 Stories is presented by Irish Aid, KMF Productions, and RTÉ. The exhibition opened this evening in Dublin’s Kevin Street library and will tour the following libraries nationwide:

Kevin St., Dublin, 15-31 January
Blanchardstown, Fingal 1-15 February
Tallaght, Dublin, 17-28 February
Portlaoise, Co Laois, 29 February-14 March
Dún Laoghaire, 16-30 March
Westside, Galway City, 2-18 April
Killarney, Co Kerry, 20 April-1 May
Mullingar, Co Westmeath, 5-18 May
Louth,19 – 31 May
Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, 8-20 June
Kilkee, Co Clare, 4-19 July
Mallow., Co Cork 29 July-12 August
Kilkenny, 13-31 August
New Ross, Co Wexford, 1-12 September
Ashbourne, Co Meath 14-28 September
Donegal, 30 September-13 October
Tullamore, Co Offaly, 14-27 October

Operation Transformation Leaders encourage the nation to get moving this Saturday

This Saturday (January 18) will see thousands of people across Ireland take part in the 2020 Operation Transformation Nationwide Walks with over 100 walks taking place across the country.

With new walks added, this year’s event, which has been organised in conjunction with Sport Ireland and the Local Sports Partnerships, hopes to be the biggest in the show’s 13 year history.

The walks are open to all – young and old, experienced walkers and those looking to jump-start their January health kick – and will take place at venues throughout the country from 11am on Saturday 18 January, 2020.

This year presenter Kathryn Thomas will be in Tullamore as the show is based in Offaly this year. Shane will be walking with Dr. Eddie Murphy in Salthill Galway. Barry, Andrea and Tanya will all be on the walk in Cork and Lorraine will be joined by Karl Henry in Cavan while Dr. Sumi Dunne will be leading the walk in Emo Co. Laois.

Over 19,488 people took part in the Nationwide Walks in 2019. We look forward to even larger numbers at the 2020 event this month!

Find all the information on your local walk go to the OT website (rte.ie/ot) or by searching your Local Sports Partnership. 

RTÉ weekend ratings beat the January blues with The Late Late Show, Dancing with the Stars, The Tommy Tiernan Show and Room to Improve – Dermot’s Home

RTÉ’s jam-packed schedule kicked the January blues into touch with the first weekend schedule of 2020 proving to be a big hit.

Friday night’s Late Late Show, which featured a special segment honouring actress Brenda Fricker, a tribute to the late Larry Gogan, as well as interviews with chef Richard Corrigan, the leaders of Operation Transformation and a performance from Kodaline, attracted an audience of 517,000 –  a 47.1% share.

The Tommy Tiernan Show returned to Saturday nights on RTÉ One for its fourth season. 404,000 viewers (35.4% share) watched as Tommy’s guests included Mrs Brown’s Boys creator and star Brendan O’Carroll, followed by mortician Elizabeth Oakes who wanted to open the conversation around death. Tommy then met Donnah Vuma who spoke candidly about life in Direct Provision.  Over the next eight weeks, Tommy will meet a variety of guests, unaware of who he will be faced with until they join him on stage.

The ladies took to the floor on Dancing with the Starsthis week foranother glittertastic star-studded show, which was watched by a huge audience of 490,000 (37.3% share). The full line-up of competing dancers for 2020 includes Mary Kennedy, Aidan Fogarty, Brian Dowling, Michael Carruth, Yewande Biala, Fr. Ray Kelly, Grainne Gallanagh, Sinead O’Carroll, Lottie Ryan, Ryan Andrews and Glenda Gilson. Airing for 12 weeks, the 11 celebrities will partner with their professional dancers as they take on a brand new challenge and change their daily roles for dance routines. Each will be hoping to claim the much-coveted glitter ball trophy at the end of the series.

451,000 (32% share) watched Ireland’s number one soap last night. Fair City sawHayley tell Anto she won’t be trading fathers. She was shocked to learn Ger doesn’t know who her father is. Damien was downcast when Mairead cancelled plans but Bosco’s talk of making a film noir lifted his spirits while Orla rejected contact with Olivia.

Sunday night saw the concluding episode of Room to Improve – Dermot’s HomeonRTÉ One at 9.30pm achieve a massive audience of 641,000 viewers (46.7% share) who were enthralled as Dermot undertook the most important project of his career – renovating his new family home. For the first time, Dermot was both client and architect – a dual role in which he was far from comfortable. The consolidated figure for episode one last week scored an impressive 777,000 (51% share).

Coming up this week on RTÉ – As Dr. Evaand Wyatt walk through the gates of an abandoned, run down Portuguese hotel they attempt to create their dream. After a high-profile marriage split, Eva Orsmond has high hopes for rebuilding their relationship and creating a new life, to refocus on what’s really important. And as they lurch from budget crisis to building crises, all complicated by their lack of Portuguese, we learn if all of this is a recipe for disaster or the best thing that’s ever happened to them. The new three part documentary series starts this Sunday 19 January at 9:35pm on RTÉ One. Operation Transformation presented by Kathryn Thomas is in its 13th season, encouraging the Irish public to get up, get active and get healthy. Over the course of the 8-week show on Wednesday nights on RTÉ One, they’ll be giving the nation the tools they need to get moving, lose weight and feel great.

Passions ignite once more on Thursday nights on RTÉ2 at 9.30pm as young hearts, lively suitors and slow burners come together for a smouldering new series of First Dates. With everyone in the restaurant on a blind date, nerves are always running high. On hand, as always, with encouraging words are Maitre’D Mateo and master-mixologist Ethan – ably assisted by Alice, Pete and Libby.

All figures quotes unless otherwise stated are live +Vosdal

Looking for Love? The Late Late Show opens search for audience for Valentine’s Special 2020

The Late Late Show is searching for over 200 singletons from around Ireland willing to put their fate into the hands of Ryan and The Late Late Show team, in the hope of finding love live on national television. If you have decided that 2020 is the year you will kick dating apps to touch, or finally tell the object of your desire that they are the one for you, then The Late Late Show Valentine’s Special could be the answer to your prayers.

Host Ryan Tubridy will once again be the nation’s wingman for the evening, on what has become one of the most favoured and unpredictable shows of the year.

Ryan said: “It’s probably the most bonkers show in The Late Late Show calendar, but it’s a show that brings out the wild in people, and that’s what we want! We want people to come and join us in the assembly hall of dating destiny. We are opening our doors, our hearts and our arms to the singletons of this country. Your time is now, the place is here, so apply for true love…or at least love for 24 hours…”

To maximise the chances of finding “the one”, or at least the chance of a shift, all audience members must be single and over 18. Eligible lads and ladies who aren’t camera shy, are game for a laugh and who are, most importantly, definitely looking for love, can apply for tickets, click here.

To secure tickets, hopeful applicants must fill out the form, letting The Late Late Show know a little about their single life, why they are looking for love and their experiences of the dating scene is like in Ireland.

Clips from The Late Late Show Valentine’s Special 2019

Wigfield performs opening number – The Late Late Show Valentine’s Special 2019

Vogue Williams and Spencer Matthews play Mr & Mrs – The Late Late Show Valentine’s Special 2019

James attempts to get a date – The Late Late Show Valentine’s Special 2019

RTÉ shows clinch 42 spots in Top 50 most-watched of 2019

The Late Late Toy Show has once again topped TAM Ireland’s ratings as the most-watched television programme of the year, with an average of over 1.54 million tuning in on RTÉ One for the heart-warming extravaganza last November.

Sport on RTÉ2 scored 20 places within the TAM Ireland Top 50, with the All Ireland Football Final Replay Dublin V Kerry the most-viewed sporting programme of the year, at 991,000.

RTÉ continues to be the public’s go-to broadcaster at times of national significance, with 666,000 watching the Late Late Show tribute to Gay Byrne.

The highest-rating Six One News at 530,000 was on 4 November, the day Gay Byrne passed away. The highest-rating Nine O’Clock News was watched by 572,000. RTÉ Investigates – Creches, Behind Closed Doors went undercover to look at standards of care in a chain of creches located in Dublin, the impact of which continues to make headlines. It had an audience of 484,000. The highest-rating Prime Time of the year featured the murder of Bobby Ryan (511,000).

Elsewhere, entertainment shows continued to dominate the top of the ratings. A celebration of Shane McGowan on the Late Late Show also features in the Top 20, with 612,000 viewers. An episode of Room to Improve from October made the Top 10, with a viewership of 688,000, demonstrating the public’s enduring affection for the show, and its presenter. One episode in Dermot’s other series, Incredible Homes, was watched by 555,000. On Christmas Day Mrs Brown’s Boys was enjoyed by 633,000. And The Young Offenders was a big hit too – 487,000 watched an episode which aired in November on RTÉ2. Family favourites Dancing with the Stars, Operation Transformation, Ireland’s Fittest Family, and Raised by The Village also feature in the Top 50.

The TAM Ireland/Nielsen figures for 2019 demonstrate that television viewing continues to dominate our leisure time with the average Irish adult in a TV home watching for 2 hours 55 minutes every day.

85% of daily viewing is consumed live, (i.e. viewed as it is scheduled), with just 15% watched as catch up. 60% of all TV homes in Ireland now have PVR capability (the ability to pause, rewind and record live TV).

On RTÉ Player, which has seen a growth of 20% in viewing in 2019, Ireland v Russia in the Rugby World cup was the most-streamed programme of 2019, closely followed by The Young Offenders at 240,000 streams and the Late Late Toy Show at 239,000 streams. Drama continues to be a big draw on the RTÉ Player with Dublin Murders and Love/Hate featuring in the RTÉ Player’s Top 20 for 2019.

Source: TAM Ireland Ltd / Nielsen TAM . Note: This list uses best episode of a series.

Adrian Lynch, Director of Channels, Marketing and Audiences said: ‘Coming together to pay tribute and to celebrate is one of the things RTÉ takes great pride in. The figures released today by TAM Ireland show that TV is very much a part of our daily lives and that, despite competition from other channels in Ireland, the UK and elsewhere, RTÉ programming is most popular with Irish audiences.’

RTÉ Choice Music Prize – Irish Album of The Year Shortlist

The shortlist for this year’s RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year 2019, in association with IMRO & IRMA, was announced today on RTÉ 2FM’s Tracy Clifford Show by Jim Carroll, chairman of the judging panel. The shortlist is as follows:

  • Daithi – L.O.S.S. (Strange Brew)
  • Mick Flannery –  Mick Flannery (Rosaleen Records)
  • Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel (Partisan Records)
  • Girl Band – The Talkies (Rough Trade Records)
  • Jafaris – Stride (DFL)
  • Junior Brother – Pull The Right Rope (Strange Brew)
  • Lankum – The Livelong Day (Rough Trade Records)
  • Soak – Grim Town (Rough Trade Records)
  • Maija Sofia – Bath Time (Trapped Animal Records)
  • Sorcha Richardson  – First Prize Bravery (Faction Records)

As part of RTÉ’s continued commitment to promoting Irish music, RTÉ 2FM celebrates the announcement of the shortlist across its schedule throughout the day with All Irish Music All Day from 6am to midnight. 

The Irish Album of the Year 2019 will be announced at the Live Event in Vicar Street on Thursday 5th March and will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2FM in a special four hour extended programme from 7-11pm, with a special RTÉ Choice Music Prize highlights programme going out on RTÉ2 television the following week.

The 15th annual RTÉ Choice Music Prize will once again celebrate the best in Irish recorded music.   The Prize has become one of the music-industry highlights of the year since its inception in 2005. The Irish Album of the Year award is chosen from a shortlist of ten albums by a panel of twelve Irish music media professionals and industry experts. The full list of judges is on the RTÉ Choice Music Prize http://www.choicemusicprize.ie

RAAP and Culture Ireland are also official project partners of the RTE Choice Music Prize.

Culture Ireland will fund the attendance of influential overseas Industry executives to attend the RTE Choice Music Prize Live Event and  RTÉ Choice Music Prize “Conversations” will return and take place during the day on the 5th.

Tickets for the Choice Music Prize live event are on sale now from all Ticketmaster outlets and from http://www.ticketmaster.ie priced €28.00 including booking fee.


And just in case you didn’t know … 

The RTÉ Choice Music Prize is organised by DavidReid. RTÉ Brainstorm editor and co-founder of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize Jim Carroll is the chairman of the judging panel. It is unique in that the judging of the Irish Album of the Year focuses simply and solely on the music (as opposed to sales, streaming or airplay).

Stay up-to-date with the latest RTÉ Choice Music Prize news by following @choiceprize, @rte2fm, @rte and @rte2 on Twitter and Facebook and @explorerte and @rte2fm on Instagram using #rtechoiceprize. For Snapchat updates, follow @rte2fm.


RTÉ has announced the death of broadcaster Larry Gogan.

The man with the golden voice, Larry Gogan was at the very heart of 2fm – and RTÉ – for over 50 years. Part of the original line-up for Radio 2 in 1979, Larry began with RTÉ Radio in the 1960’s, latterly presenting for RTÉ Gold.

Dee Forbes, Director General, RTÉ said: “Larry Gogan was a legend, and a genuine national institution. He transcended generations – whether it was a hilarious moment on the Just a Minute Quiz, the breakneck countdown of the weekly top 40, or the first play of a Christmas song – Larry didn’t just preserve these traditions, he created them.Legendary, cross-generational, universally popular: The Golden Hour and the “Just a Minute Quiz” were national institutions, just the like the man himself.He returns now to his beloved Florrie – we are the poorer for his loss, but the richer for having known this gentleman of the airwaves.”

Moya Doherty, Chair, said: “Larry Gogan understood that popular music had an importance long before the debate about good and bad culture emerged. He championed the popular and through that became a voice for the people over five decades. His importance to RTÉ and popular music in Ireland will not be forgotten.”

Dan Healy, Head of RTÉ 2FM said, “Larry was a huge part of the foundation on which 2FM was built – he was, arguably, the greatest music DJ in Irish broadcasting history; that gorgeous voice; that genius with a link; that love for the music. Larry won all the major radio awards in Ireland but over and above them all he had the one that mattered most: universal popularity. Everyone loved Larry, and we’ll all miss him deeply.”

Jim Jennings, Director of Content, RTÉ said: “Larry Gogan defined the Irish popular music scene for decades; he advocated for Irish artists and Irish music throughout his career, meaning he was respected not only by audiences, but by musicians too. This, in many ways, was his unique quality: he was loved by the listener, and loved by the artist. Larry’s legacy will endure in popular culture and the popular imagination for decades to come.” 

Lorcan ‘Larry’ Gogan (born 1934) broadcast his first radio programme on RTÉ Radio 1, and was in the original line-up in 1979 of RTÉ Radio 2 (which later became RTÉ 2fm), where he spun the first disc. He presented a regular show there until 2019. Larry presented The Golden Hour up until February 2014. Famous for his “Just a Minute Quiz”, his catchphrases are universally recalled (“They didn’t really suit you”).

Larry also presented a variety of television programmes including Pickin’ The Pops, Go 2 Show and The Golden Hour. He commentated frequently on the Eurovision Song Contest. On 8 January 2019, he moved from 2FM to RTÉ Gold – he presented his last programme on 2FM on Thursday 31 January. 

Larry met his wife Florrie when she was 15. Both their fathers ran newspaper shops in Dublin. They were engaged two years later and married when she was 21. He is survived by his five children – Gerard, Orla, Grainne, David and Sinead – and 12 grandchildren. Florrie died in January 2002. 

Larry won many awards. A Jacob’s winner, he was also awarded the IRMA Honours Award “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Irish music”, and the Industry Award at the 2007 Meteor Awards.

RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars is back with a bang as the first show served up some great entertainment

Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne are back to host the fourth series of Dancing with the Stars. The new series got off to a fantastic start as the show opened with a group dance featuring all of the celebrity and professional dancers. They danced through 100 years in time, to a medley of music, with various styles from the roaring 1920’s to the present day.

The five celebrity male dancers took to the floor tonight in spectacular fashion for the first live show. First to take to the dance floor was former eight time All-Ireland winning Kilkenny Hurler Aidan Fogarty with his dance partner Emily Barker. Aidan’s first live performance was an energetic Jive, paying homage to his black and amber roots, dancing to ‘Tiger Feet.’ Commenting after the dance Aidan said: “I’m a half a stone down! It was some experience, fantastic, great buzz. It was easier to play in Croke Park on All Ireland final day than it was to do that! It was the same buzz though.”  Loraine Barry began the judges comments: “Wow! You deffo don’t need your hurley anymore – it was a full-on jive. It was a great Jive – really, really well done. What a sensational start to the show! When I see you, it was the passion and the drive that drove you – you’re one to watch!”  Julian continued: It was a jumin’ jivi’elicious to the show. Never mind tiger feet, you have dancing feet.” Brian added: “Everyone in Kilkenny calls you ‘Taggy’ but your feet was a little bit ‘flappy’, but I think you could be a cat that could be roaring for a few weeks!”  

He scored a total of 18 from the judges.

Next up was former Olympic boxer Michael Carruth who is partnered with Karen Byrne.  Michael’s first dance was an American Smooth, which incorporated an Irish jig, dancing to ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston. ’ Michael said: “There was good and bad points – you have to take the good with the bad. I call (Karen) the Ballyfermot BruiserKaren said “Tonight he’s definitely Little Michael twinkle toes.”  Julian said: “I thought I was watching Michael Flatley ‘Lord of the Dance’ it was something fresh. A little bit more jollity across the floor but I know you have it because you gave a great punch!”  Loraine added: “You’ve got to knuckle down and learn the routine – I know you can do it. Brian said: “Although there’s supposed to be smooth, there was so much jigging around, but your frame and posture wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be.”

Michael received a score of 12 from the judges.

Fair City star, Ryan Andrews was straight off the panto stage and onto the dancefloor with partner, Giulia Dotta. They performed the cha cha cha to the hit ‘If I can’t have you’.  Afterwards Ryan said “You get so much into it and you don’t want to let your partner down so I kept going and going in training until I split my trousers! I’m a huge fan so to walk down those stairs tonight was like a dream come true.”  Brian said: “I thought it lacked a little bit of hip action! But the way you used your feet was phenomenal. This is a good start and bodes very well for the future!” Loraine: You used a lot of space I would like to see the body go a little more into space. A little bit choppy at times but the steps and rhythm were there.”Julian added:  “A cha cha boom baby! Chemistry of the two of you was bouncing. You’ve great foot work. I’m very excited about you – you’ve huge potential.” 

He scored a total of 21 from the judges.

Not to be outdone, the female celebrities also took to the floor for a group dance when they danced among beach scenes to ‘California Gurls’ by Katy Perry. Following a group chat with the girls, it was back to the male dancers. Fr. Ray Kelly teamed up with his pro dance partner, Kylee Vincent. They danced a foxtrot to ‘A Spirit in the Sky’. After they finished Fr Ray Said: “It felt really good. I think Buddy (his dog) was watching and really proud. (He joked) I said a little prayer for myself personally but not for these guys!

Loraine began the comments with: “You’ll have to forgive me but it wasn’t the foxtrot we wanted to see. A gliding step across the floor would have helped. You did your very best, you worked very hard and I believe you really enjoyed it.” Julian: “Never mind the spirit in the sky, you are my ray of sunshine! You danced with heart, your face came alive and you were even singing the song. Where’s there’s a will, there’s way!”

Brian added: “The dance was a mystery to me and I think even at times, it was to you. You got most of the steps wrong in the 2nd half but it can only get better.”

He scored a total 8 of from the judges.

Last up tonight was Big Brother winner, Brian Dowling. Brian was accompanied by his pro dancer, Irish newcomer, Laura Nolan. They danced a salsa to ‘Juice’.  Brian Said: “So relieved it’s over – going last you get to see everyone go first. I liked the Salsa cause it’s quick, it’s all face and hands – I can do that. You don’t want to be disappointing your partner, she has so much creativity and vision – Dancing is not easy. My husband Arthur is a choreographer and there could be a few arguments tonight!!” Julian began: “That was one sexy salsa! You were giving it loads – we got lots of arms, lots of face, lots of movement. You’re a born entertainer, a showman. I want to see lots of top and lots of bottom! I want more hip action. Practice makes perfect. You’ve got potential Brian.” Brian Redmond continued“You sang that song from start to finish! Some sections of it, I actually quite enjoyed. You don’t need any practicing with the posing! A little fidgety at times but overall, not a bad start.” Loraine: “It felt so good didn’t it? It didn’t come out like that. You’ve got it but you didn’t let it out of your body. There is something special about you which we will see over the next few weeks.” 

He scored a total 16 of from the judges. 

Viewers also got another chance to see the Dancing with the Stars 2019 reigning champions Mairéad Ronan and John Nolan.  They performed their beautiful Vienesse Waltz to ‘You Are The Reason’ by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis from last year’s semi-final once again. The night ended on a high as the pro-dancers took to trampolines to perform a Charleston to ‘The Bounce.’ Next week it’s the turn of the female celebrity dancers to shine on the dance floor and the first elimination will take place in show 3. There will be even more exclusive Dancing with the Stars content to enjoy as RTÉ’s social channels cover all the backstage antics with the effervescent James Patrice at the helm.For all the latest news and backstage gossip follow RTÉ One at www.facebook.com/rteone , www.instagram.com/rteone 

www.twitter.com/rteone #DWTSIrl 

RTÉjr Goes Dancing with the Stars is back on Thursday nights at 6.30pm. This weekly entertainment show, presented by Darcey MacGabhann (12) and Darragh Malone (14) will feature interviews with the celebrities and pro dancers as well as news reports on backstage activity and fun features with production departments. Finally, kids get their backstage pass to join the Dancing with the Stars party!

In a new addition this year, James Patrice will bring you extra behind-the-scenes news in a brand new weekly podcast.  Including chats with stars, theirprofessional partners and the judges, it will be available every Monday to keep the Dancing with the Stars buzz going after the main show has aired.

And finally Dancing with the Stars will be available to watch live on RTÉ Player with the opportunity to catch up on each individual dance.

Dancing with the Stars is produced by ShinAwiL for RTÉ.


It is with profound sadness that RTÉ announces the death of Marian Finucane. Marian passed away suddenly today, at home.

Dee Forbes, Director General, RTÉ, has said: “We learned today of the sudden passing of Marian Finucane with profound shock and sadness. Marian was a broadcaster of immense capability; a household name, she was first and foremost a tenacious journalist with a zeal for breaking new ground. From Women Today to Liveline to her weekday radio show on Radio 1 and, latterly, her enormously popular Saturday and Sunday radio programme, she tackled the big social issues of the day with command and insight. Multi-skilled, she forged a distinguished career on television, as well as undertaking significant charity work in Africa. Ireland has lost a unique voice. RTÉ has lost a beloved colleague. My sincere and heartfelt sympathies to her husband John and son Jack.”

Moya Doherty, Chair, has said: “It is with the deepest shock and sadness that I heard the news of Marian Finnucane. Marian was a pioneer in women’s broadcasting and was rightly renowned for her fearless yet human interview technique. Many who work in broadcasting today, male and female, owe her a great debt. RTÉ has lost another great champion and another great talent, but we are the richer for having known and heard her work.”

Jim Jennings, Director of Content, RTÉ, has said: “The work and legacy of Marian Finucane is without parallel in Irish broadcasting. With the committed team on Women Today she tackled issues that were largely uncovered and unspoken. On Liveline she templated a phone discussion format uniquely suited to Irish audiences. An award-winning documentary maker, she was an interviewer of profound sensitivity and insight. As presenter of RTÉ Radio 1’s flagship weekend morning programme, she had the pulse of the nation. It is with great sadness that we mourn this loss to Irish journalism, and to all her colleagues in RTÉ. But our immediate thoughts are with her family today, at this time of great shock and mourning.”

Tom McGuire, Head of RTÉ Radio 1, says: “Marian Finucane was a defining voice for RTÉ Radio 1, and for the nation. Her work on Liveline was without parallel, where she merged an unsurpassed journalistic vigour with a flair for debate and discussion unmatched among her peers. As the voice of weekends, she parsed the stories of the day, tackling big interviews with ease and insight. Her loss is a deep shock to all of us, and our thoughts are with Marian’s family at this time.”

Born in 1950, Marian Finucane first worked with RTÉ in the 1970s. A qualified architect, she became a programme presenter working on programmes concerned with contemporary social issues, especially those concerning women, notably on Women Today.

She became a household name with her Liveline programme on RTÉ Radio 1. A winner of the Prix Italia, her television work included Consumer Choice and Crime Line.

On Gay Byrne’s retirement in 1999, she took over his early morning radio slot to present The Marian Finucane Show, ultimately taking over the morning slots on Saturday and Sunday.

Marian is survived by her husband John and son Jack. 

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