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31 of the Irish Christmas specials hitting your tellies

Couch, prepare yourself.

When Ryan Met Niall
When Ryan Met Niall
Image: RTÉ

CHRISTMAS IS A time for family, giving, sharing, laughing… and telly, lots and lots of telly.

RTÉ and TV3 have both bombarded us with their festive specials over the past few days, so we’ll distilled them down into this handy list, so that you can get planning.

Specials and documentaries


  • When Ryan Met Niall: Ryan Tubridy goes to Mullingar and America in search of the story of Niall Horan 
  • Man on Bridge: Tells the story of legendary Dublin street photographer Arthur Fields who spent 50 years taking photos on O’Connell Bridge
  • Superstar Dogs: Presented by Ray D’Arcy
  • At Your Service to the Rescue: John and Francis Brennan doing what they do best, for charity
  • Christmas at The Zoo
  • Weather Beaten: John Creedon, Nuala Carey and George Lee look at the year in Irish weather
  • Ireland’s Fittest Family: Tears and Triumphs 
  • Totes 2014: Eoghan McDermott takes us through the top 20 showbiz, news and sports stories of 2014
  • Unbreakable: Mark Pollack’s incredible story
  • Kitchen Hero: Donal’s Christmas Feast
  • Rachel Allen’s Sweet Christmas: Get the buttser out of the fridge

Unbreakable Mark Pollack (RTÉ)


  •  The Great Irish Bake Off Christmas Special: Anna Nolan oversees Biddy White Lennon and Paul Kelly as they take on puddings
  • Downton Abbey Christmas Special: Rose’s wedding is looming, Mary is taking off and putting on hats, and Bates is looking concerned. The usual
  • Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special: Featuring Rachel Stevens and Sophie Ellis Bextor
  • 2014 Here Was the News: All of the drama from home and abroad
  • 15 Years of Ireland AM 
  • 2014 The Highs and Lows: The biggest entertainment stories of the year

mary Source: TV3



  • Republic of Telly Christmas special and Republic of Telly’s Mixtape Volume 1 (a look back at their best bits)
  • Mrs Browns Boys Christmas Special: Traditionally watched by about 7 billion people, this Christmas sees Cathy hiding something from Agnes and a spate of burglaries in Finglas. 
  • The Mario Rosenstock Christmas Special: In front of a live audience
  • Katherine Lynch – The Noughtie Years
  • Callan Kicks the Year
  • The Savage Eye – An Irish Guide to Failure: revisits the most memorable sketches from the series and draws conclusions about Ireland and its people


  • Tommy Tiernan, Crooked Man: Filmed and directed by IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade in 2011 
  • Brendan Grace, Live from Castlebar




  • Would You Believe Special – The Longford Phoenix: Transforming Longford’s St Mel’s Cathedral back to glory after a devastating fire in 2009
  • What’s Another Year: The Life and Times of Shay Healy
  • Christmas Eve Carols 

St Mel's Cathedral restoration The devastated interior of St Mel's Cathedral in Longford town (PA Archive/Press Association Images) Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images


  • Michael Bublé – Live at Christmas: Mickey Bubbles, crooning away
  • X Factor Winner’s Story 2014
  • Tommy Flemming – Live at Christmas: Recorded near his home in Mayo

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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