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RTÉ Celebrates Brendan Behan’s 100th birthday

RTÉ Celebrates Brendan Behan’s 100th birthday

on television, on radio and online

https://www.rte.ie/brendan-behan/

Brendan Behan was born one hundred years ago, on 9th February 1923, and to celebrate this important birth centenary, RTÉ has put together a programme of themed content, both new and existing through RTÉ Archives, across television, radio and online.

MAIN PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS

>>>ON TELEVISION

Nationwide: RTÉ One, 7pm, Wednesday 8 February

In a special programme, RTÉ One’s Nationwide looks back on the life and work of Brendan Behan, revisiting many locations of Behan’s city including Russell Street in the north inner city where he grew up, Mountjoy prison, the house in Anglesea Road, Dublin 4 which he bought with his wife Beatrice and his grave at Glasnevin Cemetery, including RTÉ Archive material of Behan. As part of the programme, presenter Anne Cassin will talk to Brendan Behan’s daughter Blanaid Behan, writer and director, Peter Sheridan, historian, Donal Fallon and academic, Deirdre McMahon.

>>>ON RADIO

Bowman 8.30: RTÉ Radio 1, 8.30am, Sunday 5th February and 12th February

Across two Sunday mornings John Bowman presents a timely selection of recordings of and about Brendan Behan from RTÉ Archives.

Sunday Miscellany: RTÉ Radio 1, 9.10am, Sunday 5th February

On Sunday Miscellany, Blánaid Behan (pictured below), in Familiar Stranger, writes about the father she barely knew – but whose presence looms large in her life.

“At rare gatherings with my father’s side of the family old Dublin ladies would pat me on the head and say sadly, ‘God love you child, you lost your Da and he was awful young.’ To me at the age of seven or eight, 41 seemed quite ancient! ‘Sure, doesn’t everyone die at 41?’ I wondered. I examined photos for any hint of a likeness. Joan Littlewood, the legendary theatre director in whose hands his play The Hostage won numerous accolades, told me I had his eyes…”

Arena: RTÉ Radio 1, 7pm Monday 6th February

An hour-long special looking at Brendan Behan’s entire career and legacy with guest writer and director Peter Sheridan, writer and historian Donal Fallon, who also presents the Three Castles Burning podcast, and musicians Daoirí Farrell, Anne Buckley and Macdara Yeates.

Behan Ó Beacháin: RTÉ Radio 1, 7.30pm Sunday 12th, 9th and 16th February

A short series focuses on Behan’s writing and spoken words:

Sunday 12th February: Brendan Behan’s New York is his posthumously published book, transcribed from recordings by Behan recounting stories around the city he loved. On its publication it was described as ‘A big broth of a book, full of the late author’s wit and charm’. The programme features actor David Herlihy (who himself performed in a milestone Borstal Boy production directed by Joe Dowling) with a jazz soundtrack contemporary to the period in which Behan spent time in New York.

Sunday 19th February: A focus on the poetry of Brendan Behan or Breandán Ó Beacháin as he called himself when he wrote in Irish. The poems are read by actor Bríd Ní Neachtain (who plays the role of the post-mistress in The Banshees of Inisherin) and Behan’s nephew and literary academic Colbert Kearney.

Sunday 26th February: Behan’s classic short story The Confirmation Suit was as though written to be read aloud with its rhythms and musicality. This coming-of-age story is set in Behan’s inner-city Dublin where he grew up. The 12-year-old narrator is approaching his coming-of-age sacrament of confirmation only to be dashed by the prospect of wearing the dowdy suit that has been made for him for the occasion. The story is specially performed for this programme by Dublin poet and spoken word artist Stephen James Smith.

>>>ONLINE

To mark this special occasion, RTÉ has created a dedicated Brendan Behan themed index – www.rte.ie/brendan-behan/ – which also features on RTÉ Culture. It offers the perfect destination for a rich variety of Behan-related material and includes a range of programming mentioned above. The wider Behan family also features, including Behan’s brothers Brian and Dominic, also writers, his mother Kathleen Behan, a renowned singer, and Brendan Behan’s wife, painter Beatrice Behan (Salkeld). This site dedicated to all things Behan will be curated throughout the year and is one to watch for all Brendan Behan fans.

Commenting RTÉ’s Group Head, Arts and Culture, Ann-Marie Power said: ‘Behan became one of Dublin’s most recognizable citizens, adoring city life, and one of the West End’s and Broadway’s most famous playwrights and celebrities. Notably, he is among few Irish writers whose command of and flair for language found such fluency in Irish and in English. The titles of Brendan Behan’s the The Quare Fellow, The Hostage and Borstal Boy and stand assuredly alongside other seminal works of 20th century Irish literature, including those of James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, and Mary Lavin, although Behan’s personal life and struggles sometimes overshadow his writing talent.

Now, in Celebrating the Centenary of Brendan Behan RTÉ offers a breath of new and RTÉ Archive programmes across television, radio and online – going beyond the persona and crude stereotype by focusing on the quality of his work, his powerful interpretations of the society of his day and his place in Irish culture.’

For more visit www.rte.ie/brendan-behan/ and www.rte.ie/Culture

>>>ADDITIONAL DETAILS: TELEVISION

Nationwide: RTÉ One, 7pm, Wednesday 8 February

Presenter Anne Cassin looks back on the life and work of Brendan Behan, revisiting many locations of Behan’s city including Russell Street in the north inner city where he grew up, Mountjoy prison, the house in Anglesea Road, Dublin 4 which he bought with his wife Beatrice and his grave at Glasnevin Cemetery. The programme also features his daughter Blanaid Behan; writer and director, Peter Sheridan; historian, Donal Fallon and academic, Deirdre McMahon as well as archives of Behan.

Having grown up in a staunchly republican household in Dublin’s north inner city, Behan joined the IRA at sixteen. He took off to Liverpool on a solo mission. According to Donal Fallon, ‘Behan without sanction from any superior, arrives with a suitcase of explosives and just what he intends to do is still in question; but most likely the plan is to attack Liverpool docks. He is arrested in the process, lodging in an Irish B n B essentially’. The arrest features in the opening pages of his book ‘Borstal Boy’ which is based on Behan’s experiences in a borstal institution in Hollesley Bay in Suffolk.

Blánaid Behan tells Anne Cassin that she feels close to her father when reading this book. ‘I am very fond of Borstal Boy because I think it’s a very much autobiographical account of his early life. And because I was so young when my father died, it gave me an insight into the sort of person he was; really someone who wasn’t much older than I was when I was reading the book.’

Soon after his release, Behan was back behind bars for an attempted shooting in Dublin of two detective guards at an Easter commemoration in Glasnevin. Sentenced to 14 years, he was released after four because of a general amnesty but went on to spend time in and out of Mountjoy for other offences in the 1940s. Whilst inside, the hanging of a fellow prisoner Bernard Kirwan took place in 1943, inspired Behan to write his play ‘The Quare Fellow’ which opened to critical acclaim in London in 1956. Success of another play ‘The Hostage’ followed in 1958, and Behan was the toast of West End and Broadway. Peter Sheridan talks of Behan thrilling New York audiences ‘The idea of an ex IRA man, who had a play on in broadway called ‘The Hostage’; he was a man who could talk; he was a man who could sing; he became an absolute sensation.

Behan adored the attention and loved to enthrall his fans with stories, songs and chat. He even became famous for interrupting his own plays, but soon his fame and drinking caught up with him.

Referring to his final RTÉ interview a few months before he died, Peter Sheridan comments. ‘By the end it was profoundly sad and nobody could look at that and say – ah sure – it was only a fellow having a few drinks. You couldn’t say that about him. Pitiful’.

Deirdre McMahon, who has recently completed her doctorate on the work of Behan says that ‘And if there is anything that we can do in this centenary year is to concentrate on that. Perhaps to move away from the public image of Behan and to reassess what he actually had to offer’.

>>>ADDITIONAL DETAILS: RADIO

Bowman 8.30: RTÉ Radio 1, 8.30am, Sunday 5th February and 12th February

Across two Sunday mornings John Bowman presents a timely selection of recordings of and about Brendan Behan from RTÉ Archives.

Sunday Miscellany: RTÉ Radio 1, 9.10am, Sunday 5th February

On Sunday Miscellany, Blanaid Behan, in Familiar Stranger, writes about the father she barely knew – but whose presence looms large in her life.

“At rare gatherings with my father’s side of the family old Dublin ladies would pat me on the head and say sadly, ‘God love you child, you lost your Da and he was awful young.’ To me at the age of seven or eight, 41 seemed quite ancient! ‘Sure, doesn’t everyone die at 41?’ I wondered. I examined photos for any hint of a likeness. Joan Littlewood, the legendary theatre director in whose hands his play The Hostage won numerous accolades, told me I had his eyes…”

Arena: RTÉ Radio 1, 7pm Monday 6th February

An hour-long special looking at Brendan Behan’s entire career and legacy with guest writer and director Peter Sheridan, writer and historian Donal Fallon, who also presents the Three Castles Burning podcast, and musicians Daoirí Farrell, Anne Buckley and Macdara Yeates.

Behan Ó Beacháin: RTÉ Radio 1, 7.30pm Sunday 12th, 9th and 16th February

A short series focuses on Behan’s writing and spoken words:

Sunday 12 February: Brendan Behan’s New York is his posthumously published book, transcribed from recordings by Behan recounting stories around the city he loved. On its publication it was described as ‘A big broth of a book, full of the late author’s wit and charm’. The programme features actor David Herlihy (who himself performed in a milestone Borstal Boy production directed by Joe Dowling) with a jazz soundtrack contemporary to the period in which Behan spent time in New York.

Sunday 19 February: A focus on the poems of Brendan Behan or Breandán Ó Beacháin as he called himself when he wrote in Irish. The poems are read by actor Bríd Ní Neachtain (who plays the role of the post-mistress in The Banshees of Inisherin) and Behan’s nephew and literary academic Colbert Kearney.

Sunday 26 February: Behan’s classic short story The Confirmation Suit was as though written to be read aloud with its rhythms and musicality. This coming-of-age story is set in Behan’s inner-city Dublin where he grew up. The 12-year-old narrator is approaching his coming-of-age sacrament of confirmation only to be dashed by the prospect of wearing the dowdy suit that has been made for him for the occasion. The story is specially performed for this programme by Dublin poet and spoken word artist Stephen James Smith

>>>ADDITIONAL DETAILS: ONLINE

A specially dedicated Brendan Behan index – www.rte.ie/brendan-behan/ – features on RTÉ Culture offering the perfect destination to locate a variety of Behan-related material and includes a range of the programming mentioned above. The wider Behan family also features, including Behan’s brothers Brian and Dominic, also writers, his mother Kathleen Behan, a renowned singer, and Brendan Behan’s wife, painter Beatrice Behan (Salkeld). This site dedicated to all things Behan will be curated throughout the year and is one to watch for all Brendan Behan fans.

IMAGE: Brendan Behan in Paris (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


RTÉ and Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland Announce Search for New Drama to be Broadcast on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player

RTÉ and Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland Seek New Creative Talent to Commission

Brand New Drama to be Broadcast on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player

Storyland call-out 2023 (rte.ie)

RTÉ and Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland have announced increased investment in the award-winning short drama series Storyland.Designed to create opportunities for new talent to pitch, develop and produce drama for our screens, Storyland has acted as an invaluable springboard for Irish writing, directing, producing, and acting talent throughout the island of Ireland to develop their careers.RTÉ and Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland have come together to increase the investment in Storyland. In 2022, for the first time, Storyland short dramas were broadcast on RTÉ2 as well as RTÉ Player, providing a wider platform for new drama talent and increased funding for these original Irish drama commissions.We are seeking to commission eight scripts, working closely with script writers and producers on their development. Writers from the worlds of television, film, theatre, advertising, literature, documentary, and journalism are being sought, whether or not they have written for television or film before.Of the eight dramas developed, three single dramas of 25 minutes duration will be commissioned for production.Storyland is committed to ensuring diversity and an equal gender balance across all key creative positions and to being inclusive when considering the make-up of each team.David Crean, Acting Head of Drama, RTÉ said, “Storyland has been a great way to discover and nurture new and unique voices with untold stories. As part of our continuing commitment to identify and promote a diverse range of voices and talent, it was exciting to see Storyland being embraced on television and reaching a wider audience. It’s an essential ramp for drama talent to showcase their work locally and globally and we’re delighted to be working with Screen Ireland on our commitment to raise the profile of Irish drama.”Andrew Byrne Television Project Manager Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland said, “We are delighted to be working with RTÉ on the continued investment in new talent via the Storyland scheme, which gives a first opportunity to emerging voices within a short television format. I look forward to seeing this year’s submissions and the variety of new stories.”

More information and FAQs available at: Storyland call-out 2023 (rte.ie)


RTÉ’s Home of the Year is back for a new series

The judges are back, and the homes are open for viewing! This year the judges returning to make the tough decisions are, architect and founding partner of Douglas Wallace Consultants, Hugh Wallace, award-winning architect Amanda Bone and award-winning interior designer Sara Cosgrove.Every Tuesday from February the 14th 2023, join the judging panel of Hugh, Amanda, and Sara as they explore 21 outstanding homes across Ireland. The series will feature homes in Cork, Mayo, Kilkenny, Dublin, Down, Wicklow, Meath, Antrim, Galway, Armagh, Derry and Kildare.The ninth series of Home of the Year will champion creativity and showcase clever design and individuality. The series will feature homes located all over Ireland and will include re-imagined semi-detached homes, renovation projects, architectural homes, restored period homes and new builds.Looking for individuality, functionality, and clever design, the three judges will each score the homes out of 10 and the home with the highest combined score in each programme will go through to the final in April, where the winner will be crowned.   Home of the Year is produced by ShinAwiL for RTÉ One. | Home of the Year Series 9 is sponsored by AIB.The series airs on Tuesdays at 8.30pm on RTÉ One starting from the 14th February 2023.The Judges:Hugh Wallace MRIAI, MIDI  Company: http://douglaswallace.com Hugh Wallace is a well-respected, award-winning architect and founding partner of Douglas Wallace Consultants. Hugh has a passion for creative design that engages with its audience to create conversation and comment. He believes that good architecture is essential to create social cohesion and enhance our enjoyment of our landscape, and our living environment.Hugh loves to get a sense of a homeowner as soon as he walks into a house believing that your home is your opportunity to express your individuality. In this, his ninth year as a judge on Home of the Year, it’s still the hard work of the 21 homeowners that makes the series such a joy for him.Amanda Bone MRIAI Company: www.amandabonearchitects.ieAward winning architect Amanda Bone worked in Paris, New York and Dublin prior to establishing Amanda Bone Architects, a multi award winning architectural practice located in South Co. Dublin. The practice is involved in both domestic and commercial work. Amanda specialises in one off individual homes ranging from contemporary new builds to refurbishments of protected structures, Amanda graduated from UCD School of Architecture and is a registered Architect with the RIAI. She is accredited in Conservation at Grade III (RIAI). Amanda is also a Design Studio and Professional Practice Tutor at the Dublin School of Architecture, Technological University Dublin.Amanda believes that our homes are so important as they provide us with a retreat which can really contribute to our well-being. She loves the element of surprise on Home of the Year and how you never know quite what to expect on the other side of the door and how, sometimes, she finds herself enjoying things, that on paper, may not have been for her. This is Amanda’s third year as a judge on the series.Sara Cosgrove   Companies: https://saracosgrove.com/  and https://groveandco.comSara Cosgrove is an award-winning interior designer and the founder of two design businesses, Sara Cosgrove Studio and Grove & Co. Prior to setting up her own business in 2014 she worked at a number of top design houses including Helen Green Design and Candy & Candy and was appointed the Head of Design at Harrods London. During these years she specialised in high end residential, retail and development projects.   Within her own companies, Sara and her teams work on a wide range of projects globally, including residential private commissions, multi-unit developments and hospitality.  Sara is an industry commentator and lecturer with regular contributions to the Gloss, The Irish Times and had a regular ‘ask the expert’ column in The Sunday Times Ireland.    Sara finds it fascinating to get to visit 21 houses across the country and to see all the different ways in which people have expressed their passions and creativity through their homes. This is Sara’s second year as a judge on the series.


Meet Ireland’s most loveable canine rogues in new RTÉ series Madraí!

Friday 3rd February, 8pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player 

What do you do with a Bulldog who won’t budge? A Retriever who won’t retrieve? Is it ever ok for your pup to chew shoes? Or what about the dog who likes walks… but only in a buggy?! 

The pandemic puppy boom brought a whole heap of canine cuteness through our doors – but with puppies come problems. Madraí, a brand new 6-part Irish language series, launching on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player on Friday 3rd February at 8pm is here to help!

While filming RTÉ’s hit series Peataí in 2020, vet Ellen Hegarty and behaviourist Paula Doohan heard the howls for help from the nation’s dogs (and their owners!) and decided to do something about it.

A national callout was launched last summer, inviting families who were finding it hard to cope with their canines to get expert advice from Ellen and Paula. The pair were inundated with videos and pleas for help from all over the country detailing every type of dog distress – from separation anxiety to lead-pulling; non-stop barking to furniture-chewing; food allergies to medical anomalies.

The new series explores a variety of different cases which span a range of common – and not-so-common dog issues. On a case-by-case basis, Madraí’s experts observe the behaviour, diagnose the cause of the problem, and give advice and recommendations for the dogs – and often their owners too!

In the weeks and months after Paula and Ellen work with each family, they revisit them to find out how things are working out for the owners and their pooches – and what may have changed for the better, or worse! Along the way, Paula meets Belfast’s Broony, a rescue dog with a taste for blankets and towels, who’ll soon have to adjust to the twins his owner is expecting.

Ellen meets Cabríní and her trio of Chihuahuas, all competing for the title of ‘Madra Top Model’ as they overcome their eating issues. Meanwhile Paula helps owner Siobhán get a grip of Fred, a dog who loves his walks so much he’s pulled his owner into oncoming traffic. With its cast of loveable canine rogues and easy-to-follow tips and strategies to cope with a range of pooch problems, Madraí is the paws-itively perfect series to get tongues (and tails) wagging this Spring!

Tune in to the new series of Madraí on Friday 3rd February, 8.00pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player. 


The Late Late Show hosts Eurosong party to decide Ireland’s entry in May

To Whom It Concerns, on this Friday night’s Late Late Show Ireland’s bid for glory at Eurovision 2023 will take centre stage this Friday night in a very special Late Late Show Eurosong Special, where Ireland’s six hopefuls will battle it out to represent Ireland in Liverpool this May at the 67th Eurovision Song Contest. Viewers at home will have the opportunity to cast their vote for their favourite song and help to decide who will represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The winner of Friday night’s Eurosong will then perform at the Eurovision Song Contest, in front of an audience of 160 million people around the world.  The winner will be chosen by the combined votes awarded by, the Public Vote, an International Jury and a National Jury.The six Eurosong competing acts are ADGY (Too Good for your Love), CONNOLLY (Midnight Summer Night), Wild Youth (We are One), Leila Jane (Wild), K Muni & ND, Kofi Appiah and Nevlonne Dampare (Down in the Rain), Public Image Limited (Hawaii) who are all hoping to impress viewers and jurors alike with their offerings and make it onto the stage in Liverpool. The six songs were selected from hundreds of entries received by RTÉ.  Host of The Late Late Show Eurosong Special, Ryan Tubridy said“This Friday is going to have a big, bright and sparkly line up of acts. Big stars, big numbers and big expectations because this could well be Ireland’s chance to reclaim their title as Eurovision winners. So, I would say get ready to party and join us for what should be quite the extravaganza.” Last Autumn RTÉ issued a callout on The Late Late Show for artists and songwriters with the talent and ambition to compete and succeed in this highly competitive environment. The final six songs will be performed live on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player on Friday evening.  Eurovision stalwart, commentator Marty Whelan will capture all the backstage action throughout the show as our Green Room correspondent, and Ryan will be joined in studio by an expert Eurovision panel. The chosen winner on Friday night will go on to represent Ireland at the competition in Liverpool in May. Liverpool will host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, and the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will take place in the Liverpool Arena next to the River Mersey on Saturday, May 13th, with Semi-Finals on Tuesday 9th and Thursday 11th. Ireland will compete in the first half of the first semi-final in Liverpool on May 9th.


The Dance Network Premieres on Thursday 2nd February on RTÉ One

RTÉ, Screen Ireland, South Wind Blows and Harvest Films Present: The DanceNetwork Premiere Thursday 2nd February on RTÉ One 10:15pm

Next Thursday, a network premiere of The Dance will air on RTÉ One. The Dance is an observational feature documentary by director Pat Collins and follows the staging of acclaimed choreographer and theatre maker, Michael Keegan-Dolan’s MÁM from the first day of rehearsal to the opening night performance at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2019. Following the success of his acclaimed re-imagining of the world-famous ballet, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala (2016), Michael Keegan-Dolan and Teaċ Daṁsa have created another mythic yet timely production that acknowledges how life’s polarities can on occasion come together and find resolution.Acclaimed director Pat Collins’ (Song of Granite, Silence) documentary The Dance, gives viewers a unique insight into Michael Keegan-Dolan’s creative process.The documentary was filmed in 2019 and features the virtuoso concertina player Cormac Begley, who has since won Best Folk Instrumentalist 2022 at the RTÉ Folk Awards and Irish Times Album of the Year 2022, with his second solo album ‘B’. The documentary also features the European musical collective ‘s t a r g a z e’ and twelve international dancers who travelled to the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.  It’s an immersive and meditative film, fully observational and always in full flow. There is an emphasis on unity and open communication shown in the film, everyone involved in MÁM was seen as equally important to the process of creating it and was given the space to express themselves both creatively and emotionally.As Keegan-Dolan says “… each rehearsal is about discovery, revelation and connection – and these moments of discovery are a revelation to everyone present.”Michael Keegan-Dolan is considered one of the most innovative modern dance choreographers and theatre makers working today. His ground-breaking productions have won numerous international awards. He rose to acclaim as the artistic director of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre (1997-2015), creating three Olivier Award-nominated productions: Giselle (2003), The Bull (2005) and The Rite of Spring (2009). The Bull received a UK Critic’s Circle Award in 2008 and his show Rian, won a Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award) in 2013 for Best Production. His last production with his new company Teac Damsa, Swan Lake / Loch na hEala, won the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Production 2018. Premiered at the 2016 Dublin Theatre Festival, Swan Lake toured the world including to Sadler’s Wells London, Stuttgart, Wellington, Sydney, Seoul, Toronto and Moscow.Pat Collins is a film maker from West Cork in Ireland who has made 30 films over the last 25 years. In 2012, the Irish Film Institute curated a mid-career retrospective of his work to date. His latest feature documentary Henry Glassie Fieldwork-premiered at TIFF in 2019 and was released in New Wave films in the UK. He has directed the feature films Song of Granite and Silence and made films on the writer John McGahern, the poets Michael Hartnett and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, the Connemara based writer and cartographer Tim Robinson, the Iranian film maker Abbas Kiarostami (co-directed with Fergus Daly), and two political feature essay films ‘What We Leave in Our Wake’ (2009) and ‘Living in a Coded Land’(2014). He also makes short experimental films including ‘Pilgrim’, ‘What Remains’, ‘Twilight’ and the forthcoming ‘All There is, is light’.MÁM went on to be reviewed rapturously in The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Observer and The Irish Times. As well as Dublin it has been performed in theatres in London, Australia and New Zealand.The Dance airs Thursday, 2nd February on RTÉ One at 10.15pm


Two Waterford Brothers, and Two Armagh Sisters, to compete in Seán Ó Riada Final

Two trad mad Déise brothers, Macdara and Pax Ó Faoláin, as well as two talented Armagh sisters, Annie and Méabh Smyth, are amongst the fourteen finalists who will compete for the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal in Cork on Friday 3 February.  Peadar Ó Riada will present the event live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta from the Rochestown Park Hotel.

Pax Ó Faoláin is a musician, singer and producer.  He is also a composer, and is currently involved in various schemes to preserve the work of several important traditional musicians.  He is a member of the group Nuadán, and does a lot of production work for TV and festivals.  He is based between Cork and An Rinn.  Macdara is a multi-instrumentalist, playing fiddle, mandolin and bouzouki.  He works as a luthier, creating beautiful, handcrafted instruments in his studio in An Rinn.  He previously competed in the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal final in 2019, and recently completed an honours degree in the Cork School of Music.  He is also a member of the group Nuadán.   Both brothers took part in the Tyrone productions show Slí na mBeaglaoich broadcast on TG4 in 2022. Annie and Méabh Smyth are from a musical family from Ballymacnab in Co. Armagh steeped in the South Ulster and Donegal fiddle tradition.  The sisters both started on fiddle around age seven in the Armagh Pipers Club.   Méabh is a distinguished soloist, and was the inaugural Ed Reavy Fiddle Player of the Year as well as being crowned the 2021 Fiddler of London. She is a barrister, and previously qualified for the Seán Ó Riada Gold medal Final in 2019.   As well as being a gifted fiddler, her sister Annie also plays banjo and whistle, and qualified as a finalist for the Fiddler of London 2022.  She also recently participated in the Ed Reavy Fiddle Weekend and the Birmingham TradFest.  Annie is currently studying Marketing Innovation and Technology in DCU.The Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal competition is a prestigious traditional music competition that focuses on a different instrument every year over a four-year cycle, and this year it is for fiddle.  The competition attracted the highest ever number of entries this year since its inception in 2010.  There are five US musicians in the final on 3 February, the highest ever number of finalists from abroad, as well as fiddlers from across the island of Ireland.    The judges for this year’s competition are esteemed traditional musicians Connie O’Connell, Éamon McGivney and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh.  The winner of the competition will take home the bespoke gold medal, as well as €2500.  Tickets to the event can be bought on the door for €10, and it will be broadcast live on RTÉ RnaG and streamed live.   Competition organiser Peadar Ó Riada said: “We are very happy with the development of the competition over the last 13 years and its place in the international world of traditional Irish Music.  Radio makes the world grow smaller, and the competition has attracted entrants from across the world through the Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme.  The calibre of this year’s entrants is as high as it’s ever been and we believe the competition is setting a standard, and this is due in great part to the quality of its adjudicators over the years.   We hope that trad audiences will tune in on the night, and we’ll also have the live stream as we do every year.”The full list of finalists are Adam Cole-Mullen from Boston, Alice Bradley from Maryland, Andrew Caden from Maryland, Joe de Georgeo from Minnesota, Ty Kelliher from Connecticut, Caoimhe Flannery from Rockchapel Co. Cork, Megan Nic Fhionnghaile from Gaoth Dobhair in Donegal, Annie Smyth from Ballymacnab in Armagh, Jason McGuinness from Dromore West in Sligo, Macdara Ó Faoláin from An Rinn in Waterford, Méabh Smyth from Armagh, Pax Ó Faoláin from An Rinn in Waterford, Sinéad Nic Cionnaith from Augher in Co. Tyrone, and Úna McGlinchey from Omagh, Co. Tyrone. The final will be broadcast at 7 pm on Friday 3 February on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.The competition is sponsored by RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Iontaobhas Fódhla, Gael Linn, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, IMRO and the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork.


Throw-in on RTÉ sees Jacqui Hurley and Damian Lawlor take the helm of RTÉ’s weekend highlights GAA action

Jacqui Hurley will present The Sunday Game, with The Saturday Game highlights programme fronted by Damian Lawlor

RTÉ Sport announces new GAA pundits Joe Canning, Peter Canavan, Paul Flynn, Lee Keegan, & David Tubridy, Enda McGinley and the return of Tomas O’ Sé

RTÉ Sport have announced Jacqui Hurley will be taking the helm at The Sunday Game for the upcoming GAA Championship season, with Damian Lawlor bringing all of the action and analysis from The Saturday Game to viewers at home on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player. Joanne Cantwell continues to present The Saturday Game Live and The Sunday Game Live.

This season sees the addition of new, fresh off-the-pitch knowledgeable players to RTÉ Sport’s panel of experts in the form of GAA stalwarts including Galway’s Joe Canning, Tyrone’s Peter Canavan, Dublin’s Paul Flynn, and Mayo’s Lee Keegan, Clare’s David Tubridy, Tyrone’s Enda McGinley and the return of Kerry’s Tomás Ó’Sé.

The new pundits will be joining a line-up of ongoing panellists for RTÉ’s unparalleled offerings of highlights, analysis, and debate for the duration of the GAA Championship season.

Returning to provide analysis will be Dónal Óg Cusack, Liam Sheedy, Anthony Daly, Brendan Cummins, Ursula Jacob, Jackie Tyrell, Shane Dowling, John Mullane, Shane McGrath, Brian Carroll, Michael Duignan, Elaine Aylward, Colm Gooch Cooper, Sean Cavanagh, Cora Staunton, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Noelle Healy, Ciaran Whelan, Eamon O’Hara, Conleith Gilligan and John Casey.

RTÉ has expanded its media rights providing comprehensive GAA Championship coverage across RTÉ television, radio, and online services for the next five seasons, guaranteeing quality free-to-air coverage to audiences in Ireland across 12 months of the year from 2023 to 2027 inclusive.

RTÉ will continue to show 31 championship games across the island of Ireland on RTÉ television and RTÉ Player, as well as the Joe McDonagh Cup final, and both Tailteann Cup semi-finals and final for the next five years. RTÉ’s ongoing commitment to camogie will see at least nine live matches per year televised. Increased free-to-air Allianz National League games, which commences next Saturday, 28th January, as well as continued coverage of the AIB Club Championships will feature on Saturday nights, ensuring year-round live GAA coverage across all platforms on RTÉ.

The Sunday Game presenter, Jacqui Hurley said: “Working on The Sunday Game was a childhood dream of mine. It’s an absolute privilege to take on such an iconic role and follow in the footsteps of some incredible broadcasters. I look forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get started.”

The Saturday Game presenter, Damian Lawlor said: “The new GAA fixture calendar has meant more intercounty games than ever within a condensed period. This has given RTÉ Sport an opportunity to introduce The Saturday Game. Along with our production team, I will do everything I can to ensure the programme develops into an unmissable, flagship show that delivers the best insight and analysis for our viewers.”

Declan McBennett, RTÉ Group Head of Sport, said: “This season marks a reigniting of The Sunday Game with fresh off the pitch panellists alongside seasoned experts, in moves that are consistent with the evolution of The Sunday Game throughout the years. New presenters Jacqui, Damian and the new panellists are hugely experienced and perfectly placed to bring all of the excitement and analysis of the GAA Championship to our audience later this year.”

On air since 1979, The Sunday Game is shown every Sunday night during Championship season on RTÉ2.

 


RTÉ news2day celebrates its 20th birthday with an interview with the President of Ireland 

President Higgins reveals his thoughts on homework! 

news2day, RTÉ’s news service designed specifically for children, celebrates its 20th birthday today (Friday 20 January 2023) with an exclusive interview with President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.

To mark the show’s two decades on air, students from St Kevin’s National School, Littleton, County Tipperary put questions from RTÉ news2day viewers to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin and the President revealed his thoughts on homework!

In a wide-ranging interview with RTÉ news2day – which you can watch in full here – the children asked the President “What was your favourite sport when you were in school?”, “When you were nine years old what did you want to be?” and “When did you decide you wanted to be President?”  When asked what his opinion of homework President Higgins said: “I think myself really that the time at home and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things.” 

The students also asked the President about his dogs, his official trips abroad, his favourite subject in school, differences between now and when he was a child and his favourite book. The President also spoke to the children about his love of handball and the importance of friendship in their lives. RTÉ news2day will broadcast some of the President’s interview as part of this afternoon’s birthday celebrations at 4.20pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ News channel and the full interview will be available later today on the RTÉ Player.

In a message to the children of Ireland and the viewers of RTÉ news2day, President Michael D. Higgins gave this advice: “To stay curious about everything and I think it’s important to make sure you don’t miss the joy of sharing information. And I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong. And we will all do individual things… but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important. And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same. We’re all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us.”  

President Higgins also encouraged the children of Ireland to speak the Irish language. He encouraged them to speak Irish in a fun way and to feel free to use whatever bits of the language that they have.

As part of this afternoon’s birthday celebrations, presenters Reem El-Hassany and Molly O’Connor will also be joined by RTÉ news2day alumni. Presenters from the past 20 years will make a return to the much-loved news programme for its birthday celebrations. Watch the 20th birthday special at 4.20pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.

news2day is RTÉ’s news service designed specifically for children, featuring Irish and international news of interest to a young audience. It is broadcast Monday-Friday at 4.20pm on RTÉ2, the RTÉ News channel and available to stream on the RTÉ Player. In addition to young viewers tuning in at home, it is also watched online in many classrooms throughout the country and used as a teaching tool.

Pictured above, left to right:  Leah Hartigan, Jack Delaney, Gemma Dempsey, Michael O’Reilly  from 5th  and 6th class, St. Kevin’s National School, Littleton, Co. Tipperary with President of Ireland Michael D Higgins.


RTÉ and Virgin Media Television bring you every game in the ‘Guinness Six Nations’ Live  

Watch all games live across RTÉ and Virgin Media Television from Friday 3rd February  

Coverage includes Ireland Men’s, Women’s and U-20s campaigns 

RTÉ and Virgin Media Television today announced details of its joint ‘Guinness Six Nations’ coverage, ensuring Irish sports fans get to watch every game of the world’s greatest rugby tournament live and free to air.

Kicking off on Friday 3rd February, this year’s Guinness Six Nations coverage will include all fixtures from Ireland Men’s, Women’s and U-20s tournaments. The partnership will see all games equally aired across both broadcasters again this year, for what promises to be an explosive Championship.

The 2023 edition of the Guinness Six Nations Championship will open with Ireland v Wales on Virgin Media One, followed by England v Scotland on RTÉ2. Ireland will then take on current champions France on Saturday 11th February. The TikTok Women’s Six Nations will begin on Sunday 26th March with Wales v Ireland.

Speaking at this morning’s launch at the Aviva Stadium, presenters Jacqui Hurley and Joe Molloy were joined on stage by members of their broadcast teams this year including pundits, RTÉ’s Jamie Heaslip & Hannah Tyrrell and Rob KearneyFiona Hayes (Virgin Media Television).

RTÉ announced today that Irish international and Munster player Simon Zebo will be joining their punditry team.

Commenting, Head of RTÉ Sport, Declan McBennett said: “With this being a great year for rugby, there is added excitement about this year’s Six Nations which RTÉ is once again bringing to sports fans all over the country free-to-air along with Virgin Media Ireland as part of our historic partnership which we launched last year. It’s going to be a huge year for Irish rugby and we’re really looking forward to it.” 

Mick McCaffrey, Virgin Media Television’s Head of News and Sport said: “We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with RTÉ across the Men’s, Women’s and Under 20’s Six Nations tournaments. The fantastic viewing figure across all three competitions last year shows there is a huge interest in Irish rugby and all games will be available for fans to watch free to air. With the Men’s team looking to continue the momentum of their victories in the recent Autumn Internationals the stage is set for a really exciting tournament.” 

RTÉ’s comprehensive Six Nations Rugby coverage of all matches across the three tournaments includes exclusive free-to-air matches on RTÉ2, RTÉ Radio and RTÉ Player, while RTÉ.ie/Sport will have minute-by-minute match coverage alongside news, analysis and interviews and on @RTErugby. Against The Head returns with the latest news and discussions on Monday nights on RTÉ2 and RTÉ sport will bring fans closer to all things Six Nations on The RTÉ Rugby Podcast. RTÉ News will have the latest coverage around the Six Nations, including updates on the RTÉ News  app.

Virgin Media Television will broadcast live and exclusive coverage across Virgin Media One, Virgin Media Two and Virgin Media Player. Coverage will be live every weekend with weekly studio highlights, starting on Sunday at 8pm on Virgin Media Two. The weekly VMTV Rugby Podcast will keep you up to date with all things Six Nations. There will also be updates across Virgin Media News bulletins and on the @VMSportIE Twitter page. If you miss any of the action Virgin Media More will have extended highlights of all the matches from the weekend throughout the week.

Guinness Six Nations Men’s Rugby coverage on RTÉ and Virgin Media Television is sponsored by Vodafone.


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