RTÉ has announced the lineup for the religious output scheduled to be aired over the Christmas season. See below for the full schedule:
Friday 22 December
19.00pm – 22.00pm on RTÉ LYRIC Live with Paul Herriott – Join Paul Herriott this evening for a recorded performance of Handel’s Messiah, featuring the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir Ireland. Themes of comfort, hope and joy run through this epic work; one of Handel’s most popular which famously received its première in Dublin in 1742. For tonight’s performance the Irish Baroque Orchestra partnered with Chamber Choir Ireland to tell this wonderful story, under the direction of Peter Whelan.
Irish Baroque Orchestra
Chamber Choir Ireland
Director: Peter Whelan
Sopranos: Sarah Keating, Abbi Temple
Alto: Dominica Williams
Tenor: Edward Woodhouse
Bass: William Gaunt
22.00pm – 22.30pm on RTÉ Radio 1 – Witness, with Siobhán Garrigan.
Saturday 23 December
7.00am – 10.00am on RTÉ Lyric, Daybreak with Evonne Ferguson – While Evonne Ferguson presents a festive musical selection to reflect the coming Christmas season, Anja Murray celebrates the humble robin in a special edition of Nature File. Robins are Ireland’s most common garden bird, abundant everywhere all year round. But unlike other songbirds they sing right through the winter, finding favour because of their seemingly friendly manner. But are robins as friendly as they appear, and how did they become such a symbol of Christmas? This morning we explore how robins earned their place on so many Christmas cards.
20.25pm – 21.25pm on RTÉ One – Celine Byrne’s Christmas Selection Box. Irish operatic star Celine Byrne introduces a selection of her favourite performances from RTÉ’s past Christmas Music and Carols shows, including Sinéad O’Connor, Andrea Corr, Johnny Logan, Tolü Makay, Erica-Cody, Eimear Quinn, Emma Langford, Jack L & Shobsy, Mick Flannery & Susan O’Neill, plus the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and a host of choirs.
Sunday 24 December – Christmas Eve
7.00am – 10.00am on RTÉ Lyric Vox Nostra with Vlad Smishkewych – Music from the last thousand years to cheer your spirits as we head towards the Twelve Days of Christmas. ‘Twas the morning before Christmas and early on air, Vox Nostra was heard on wirelesses everywhere! Vlad’s loaded lots of songs and ‘gurdies on his sleigh in preparation for Christmas week – Yuletide carols and villancicos, Christmas sinfonias and concertos, and recent early music releases for the festive season.
11.00am – 11.45am on Radio na Gaeltachta Christmas Eve/Sunday Mass from Séipéal Cill Éinde, An Spidéal, Co. Galway. Celebrant: An tAthair Daniel Gallagher
16.00pm – 17.15pm on RTÉ Radio 1 – The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Dean William Morton and the chapter and choir of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, celebrate the Christmas story with the traditional combination of ancient and modern readings and music.
16.00pm – 18.00pm on RTÉ Lyric FM, Evelyn Grant’s Weekend Drive – Evelyn has decked the studio with holly, tinsel and lights… and then there’s the all-important music. Join her for lots of seasonal music and a selection of the entrants from the Choirs for Christmas Competition on Weekend Drive all weekend. So, turn up the volume, wherever you are listening, and you’ll be in for some amazing homegrown talent and guaranteed festive favourites, including the big announcement of this year’s Choirs for Christmas winners.
21.00pm – 00.00am on RTÉ Lyric, Vespertine with Ellen Cranitch – Tuck in all cosy for a night of Christmas music of all shapes and hues. Nigel Mooney sings 21st Century Christmas Blues, Tommy Sands weaves frosty magic with the words of Patrick Kavanagh, Bugge Wesseltoft has snow on his piano, and we remember the great Carla Bley with a selection of her wonderful Christmas Carols. Peace to all on this quiet night.
23.00pm – 00.00am (TBC) on RTÉ One and RTÉ Radio 1 – all RTÉ platforms -. Midnight Mass from Saint Franciscus Basiliek – Saint Francis’ Basilica, Bolsward, Netherlands, with translation and commentary by Father Thomas McCarthy.
Monday 25 December – Christmas Day
8.00am – 9.00am on RTÉ Radio 1, Witness to Christmas. Siobhán Garrigan is joined by guests for an hour of festive conversation and music from the West of Ireland.
9.00am-10.00am (TBC) on RTÉ One, Celine Byrne’s Christmas Selection Box – a repeat from 23 December.
10.00am – 11.00am on RTÉ One / RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, Mass for Christmas Day with the clergy, choir and parishioners of Saint Columbanus, Kildalkey, Ballivor, Co Meath, in a Eurovision Mass shared across the continent.
10.00am – 11.00am on Raidio na Gaeltachta, Réalta Órga Ríogacha – Sa chlár seo, caitheann an tAthair Brian Ó Fearraigh súil siar ar an bhliain atá beagnach caite. Cloisfear ceol na Nollag, machnaimh agus scéalta le misneach, uchtach agus tógáil croí a thabhairt do na héisteoirí maidin lae Nollag. (In this programme, Father Brian Ó Fearraigh reflects on the year that has passed, and on the Christmas season, with atmospheric hymns and music to buoy our spirits this Christmas morning.)
11.00am – 11.45am on RTÉ One / RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, service for Christmas Day. The Rev. Alan Mitchell leads Presbyterian worship to celebrate the birth of Christ. Musicians include, James Kilbane and Sligo Gospel Choir, directed by Richard Dunne.
11.00am – 1145am on Raidio na Gaeltachta Mass for Christmas Day from Séipéal Cill Éinde, An Spidéal, Co Galway. Celebrant: An tAthair Daniel Gallagher
11.45am – 12.10am on RTÉ One Urbi et Orbi. Pope Francis shares his Christmas message and blessing with the City and the World, from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, with commentary and translation by Lydia O’Kane.
12.10pm – 12.20pm on RTÉ One, The Anglican and Catholic Primates of All Ireland, Archbishop John McDowell and Archbishop Eamon Martin, respectively, present their traditional shared message and blessing for Christmas, this year focusing on the theme of Peace.
12.55pm – 13.00pm (TBC) on RTÉ One, The Cork Nativity – the people of the Rebel County tell the Gospel Nativity story. Another chance to see this beautiful and heartwarming short film, which won the USA’s leading religious media prize, a Wilbur, in 2021.
13.05pm – 13.15pm on RTÉ Radio 1, The Anglican and Catholic Primates of All Ireland, Archbishop John McDowell and Archbishop Eamon Martin, respectively, present their traditional shared message and blessing for Christmas, this year focusing on the theme of Peace.
19.00pm – 21.00pm on RTÉ Lyric Live, Christmas Around Europe with Paul Herriott. Paul Herriott brings us a playlist of Christmas music from around the world. Radio Stations from across the European Broadcasting Union including Ukraine, Hungary, Catalonia, Austria, Portugal, Quebec and the Netherlands have selected some of their nations’ favourite Christmas music to share with us this Christmas Day.
21.00pm – 00.00am on RTÉ Lyric, The Blue of the Night with Bernard Clarke – An evening largely governed by sacred music, including works from the Bach Family Archive, which J.S. Bach maintained himself: 300 years of the Bachs. Also tonight, Bernard brings you the Anonymous 4 and French Baroque Masters Charpentier, Marais and Rameau. Later, on Blue of the Night, the Northern Lights are in focus, featuring the music of Arve Henriksen, Trio Medieval, Jan Garbarek and more.
Monday 26 December
07.00am – 10.00am Centuries of Christmas with Vlad Smishkewych – Join Vlad for a millennium of festive music for Saint Stephen’s Day. He’ll explore the roots and branches of the heartwarming musical traditions around the Christmas-celebrating world, with new releases of seasonal music interwoven with beloved favourites in a glorious garland of melodies.
21.00am – 00.00am on RTÉ Lyric, The Blue of the Night with Bernard Clarke – An evening once again largely filled with sacred music, though less sacred in tone and more Gospel-orientated. Bernard also features Ensemble Unicorn, Ensemble Oni Wytars, Ross Daly and his whole crew of Cretan musicians. Later, a shift to the music of the Northern Lights, including Trio Medieval, Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson and more.
Saturday 30 December
17.30pm – 18.30pm on RTÉ Lyric, LYRIC LIVE: PALESTRINA 120 – The Palestrina Choir of Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin has grown into a much loved and respected institution, which continues to develop its unparalleled reputation for the singing of sacred music. Like the Abbey Theatre or the Artane Band, the Palestrina Choir is extraordinarily fortunate to hold a unique position within the diverse tapestry of Dublin’s cultural and social history. Since its foundation, the choir has had an inextricable link with the history of the nation, providing a sombre musical backdrop to iconic events, such as the State funerals of Michael Collins and former Irish President Éamon De Valera. The choir is delighted to be celebrating 120 years of excellence in music. Paul Herriott chats to choral director Blánaid Murphy and we hear the choir perform a selection of liturgical music by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina as well as a new commission for this celebratory year, by Irish composer Seán Doherty.
Sunday 31 December
12.00pm – 12.55pm on RTÉ One / RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, Father Richard Gibbons celebrates Mass in Knock Basilica, Co Mayo.
19.00pm – 22.00pm on RTÉ Lyric, Vespertine with Ellen Cranitch – Remembering tonight some of the wonderful musicians we lost during the year: Burt Bacharach, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carla Bley, Séamus Begley, Jane Birkin, Wayne Shorter, and so many more. What a legacy they left behind, and Ellen is delighted to celebrate it tonight. Also, a look forward to the New Year, and a focus on a new album from singer and violinist Angharad Jenkins and pianist Huw Warren. CALENNIG is the Welsh tradition of welcoming in the new year, symbolizing hope and new beginnings, and this album explores some of the beautiful ancient Plygain carols, and re-imagines them through the prism of rich sonic worlds of folk and jazz.
Friday 5 January
19.00pm – 22.00pm on RTÉ Lyric, Lyric Live with Paul Herriott – Paul Herriott returns to the National Concert Hall for the first concert of 2024 with the National Symphony Orchestra. The NSO has a programme packed with fantasy, romance and high emotions from two French Masters. Bizet’s Symphony in C is full of youthful energy and excitement. Catríona Ryan performs Fauré’s melodic Fantaisie, and the programme concludes with Fauré’s deeply moving Requiem.
Fauré: Les Djinns
Bizet: Symphony in C
National Symphony Orchestra
Jean-Luc Tingaud (conductor)
Catriona Ryan (flute)
Benjamin Russell (baritone)
National Symphony Chorus
David Young (chorus director)
Cór na nÓg
Mary Amond O’Brien, (choral director)
Saturday 6 January
14.00pm – 14.45pm on RTÉ News Channel, Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany from Saint Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.
19.00pm – 19.45pm on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany from Saint Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.