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Dublin: 15°C Thursday 28 October 2021

Here's what you can expect on the telly this Christmas

All the highlights on your tellybox.

AH, CHRISTMAS TIME. When you can hunker down in front of the telly at 3pm with an open tin of Roses and a cup of tea, and need no excuse.

If you were wondering what the Irish channels have lined up for the festive season, we’ve had a look at what RTÉ and TV3 have in store, and picked out the highlights.


© BoC Productions Ltd Source: Graeme Hunter PIctures

  • Mrs Brown’s Boys – Christmas Specials 2015: Christmas Eve, 9pm and New Year’s Eve, 10.15pm

More antics with Mrs Brown and co.

  • Well Holy God It’s Glenroe: 27 December at 9.30pm

The cast and crew of Glenroe look back at how Wesley Burrowes’ rural Irish series became our favourite Sunday night ritual.

  • Higher Hopes:Wednesday 23 December at 9.35pm

Conductor David Brophy finds out how the High Hopes choir’s lives changed.

  • Play it By Year: Starts 27 December at 7pm and runs across four consecutive nights

A gameshow that delves into the RTÉ archives and quizzes the contestants on their knowledge and memory of the 80’s, 90’s, Noughties and Now, hosted by Mike Murphy

  • The Tommy Tiernan Show: 27 December 10.35pm

TV version of his radio chat show on RTÉ 2FM where neither the host nor the audience knew the identity of the guest until they walked out on stage.

  • At Your Service: Christmas Day 7.35pm

Ireland’s top hoteliers Francis and John Brennan are back to undertake a special Christmas project with one of Cork’s oldest caring organisations, Penny Dinners, a soup kitchen.

Music fans will be tempted by shows like:

  • Fab! The Night the Beatles Came To Dublin: 27 December at 8pm

Archive footage and news reports from when The Beatles came to Dublin for two concerts on 7 November 1963 and the teenagers of the country went crazy.

  • Luke Kelly: Prince of Dublin (29 December at 9.30pm)

Utilising RTE’s Library alongside rare material from The Dubliners private archive collection, stars recall Kelly’s life.

  • The Nathan Carter Show: 30 December 9.30pm

An hour-long Christmas special, recorded in Dublin’s Mansion House.

  • Daniel O’Donnell and Friends: St Stephen’s Day, 9.20pm
  • Sinatra 100: An All-Star GRAMMY Concert: 31 December, 12.15am
  • The Best of the Imelda May Show: 31 December at 7.30pm

Get some last-minute tips before you cook that turkey.

  • A Simply Delicious Christmas with Darina Allen and Rory O’Connell: 22 December at 8pm and 23 December at 7.30pm
  • Neven’s Christmas Special: 7 December 7.30pm

Ring in the new year:

  • New Year’s Eve Live: 31 December at 11pm

Kathryn Thomas and 2FM’s Keith Walsh ring in the New Year live from the 3Arena this year.

New Year's Eve Live

  • Movies on RTÉ One

Christmas Day: Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, Oz The Great and The Powerful, Brave

Christmas Eve: Gravity

St Stephen’s Day: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Captain Philips

Also the Irish premiere of Les Miserables and the likes of Up, Shrek the Third, Cars 2, We Bought a Zoo and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Quiet Man, White Christmas, The Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life, High Society, Beaches and Back to the Future, plus all the Indiana Jones movies.



  • The Al Porter Show (Christmas Eve, 9.45pm)

The Al Porter Show is an all singing, all dancing and unashamedly old school (but oh-so-modern) variety show for RTÉ2 filmed at the Olympia theatre.

  • Panti Does 2015 (26 December at 10.55pm)

Panti Bliss looks through the highs and lows of 2015, joined by a host of celebrities.

  • The Rubberbandits’ Guide to 1916 (31 December at 11pm) Join the boys as they crash through Irish history.
  • U2 : iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE LIVE IN PARIS: Christmas Day, 11.10pm
  • Sketch!: 26 December, 11.55pm

A brand new sketch show, set in the city of Cork.

Music shows include:

  • Kodaline Up Close: Christmas Day, 6.20pm
  • Electric Picnic Highlights: 29 December, 12.20am
  • Ed Sheeran: Jumpers For Goalposts – Live From Wembley: New Year’s Eve, 11.55pm

Movies on RTÉ2

Premieres include Anchorman 2, Man of Steel, Elysium, Frankenweenie, I am Ali, Iron Man 3 and One Direction: This is Us, plus ET, Happy Feet Two, James and the Giant Peach, Naked Gun and Airplane!

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185495_1280x720 Source: TV3

  • The Great Irish Bake Off Christmas Special: Sunday 20 December, 9pm

Lots of Christmas-themed bake-off fun.

  • Ireland’s Crazy Christmas Lights: Monday 21 December, 8.30pm

Meet the Christmas lights fans who will go to any lengths.

  • Evicted at Christmas: Monday 21 December, 9pm 

This brand new TV3 fly-on-the-wall documentary follows the lives of three families battling eviction from their homes.

  • Leaving Ireland for Good: Monday 21 December, 10pm

Tens of thousands of Irish people are living and working abroad. This brand new TV3 special tells the story of those who are left behind.

  • Ivan’s Celebrity Pub Crawl: Tuesday 22 December, 9pm

Broadcaster Ivan Yates visits four Dublin pubs and reviews the year over a Christmas drink with high profile figures from the world of sport, politics, business and entertainment.

  • Coming Home for Christmas: Thursday 24 December, 9pm

Emotionally charged and uplifting one hour documentary about families as they prepare for the imminent arrival of cherished family members who have long been out of sight, but never out of mind.

  • Queen of Ireland’s Christmas Message: Friday 25 December, 3pm

The ‘Queen of Ireland’ Panti Bliss takes to the screen to reflect on the moments that have defined 2015.

  • Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special: Saturday 26 December 2015, 6.20pm

Former winners return for a special one-off.

  • Red Rock: The Story So Far: Saturday 26 December 2015, 8pm

This show takes a look back at the Red Rock story so far.

  • Downtown Abbey Christmas Special: Saturday 26 December, 9pm

The final ever episode of the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama hits our screens.

  • A Tribute to Tony Fenton: All The Young Dudes: Saturday 26 December, 12am

Music video mogul Myles O’Reilly documents a night of live music at Vicar Street in memory of the late great Tony Fenton, including Ham Sandwich, Aslan, Something Happens, The Stunning, Wallis Bird, Mick Flannery, Gavin Glass and Mario Rosenstock.

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