RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s fantastic Christmas schedule includes programmes remembering two of the West’s great characters who died this year, as well as shows celebrating living heroes.
Johnny Connolly, known as ‘King of the Melodeon’, died on 27 December 2019 and Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha will have a programme on his anniversary at 1.20 pm featuring an interview with Johnny about his life and music.
Those tuning in will also hear from his son Johnny Óg, and from some of his many musical friends who describe his legacy.
Joe Steve Ó Neachtain, acclaimed author and actor, died in January 2020, and on Tuesday 29 December at 1.30 pm there will be a special edition of Iris Aniar, broadcast just after his death when relatives, friends and colleagues gathered to remember and honour him.
The question: ‘What happens when we die?’ has been considered by people for thousands of years. In An Chéad Saol Eile, a two-part series, Máire Bríd Ní Chualáin will speak to a range of guests, including a priest, an atheist, a singer, an undertaker and a writer, about their beliefs about the afterlife.
Guests will include Mairéad Ní Chonghaile, An tAthair Seán Ó Conghaile, Sarah Ghriallais, Sally Johnny Willie, Máirín Uí Dhomhnaill , Seosamh Ó Cuaig and Pádraig Joe Joe Mac Con an Iomaire, and the programmes will be broadcast on Sunday 27 December and Sunday 3 January at 10.08 am.
Musician and broadcaster Fiachna Ó Braonáin will present a brand new six-part music series over Christmas on RnaG, An Seomra Glas, featuring a guest musician in each episode who will chat to Fiachna about their work, and chose some of the music for the show.
Musicians in the series will include Pádraig Jack from Inis Mór, as well as Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Iarla Ó Lionáird, and Colm Mac Con Iomaire.
Corofin made it three All-Ireland club championship wins in a row this year, and on Spórt an Lae on Sunday 27 December at 2 pm, Gearóidín Nic an Iomaire will interview Gary Sice about his campaign with Corofin.
Legendary singer and songwriter Tomás Mac Eoin, who found fame with The Waterboys on their album Fisherman’s Blues, was awarded the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta lifetime achievement award in November 2020, and there will be a special programme about Tomás on Monday 4 January at 1.30 pm.
There’ll be no shortage of great music on RnaG over Christmas, and one concert that may be of special interest to those in the west will be broadcast on Sunday 3 January at 3 pm.
The concert was recorded in Rosmuc in 1991, and paid tribute to Connemara poet and sean-nós singer Caitlín Maude who died in 1982 at only 41 years of age.
The concert was an all-woman affair, and included Mairéad Uí Chuaig, who recited some of Caitlín Maude’s poetry, as well as singers Máire Phíotair Uí Dhroighneáin and Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, and musicians Sharon Shannon, Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha, and many others