There is good news for those of us who can not make it home to Ireland this Christmas - the national broadcaster RTÉ has announced that RTÉ Player will be available to Irish immigrants in America.
The news is a welcome Christmas present for Irish people as it makes it a little easier for people who are going to be missing family and friends this festive season. It makes home seem a little closer.
Here at IrishCentral we have picked out some of the best shows available on the RTÉ player not to miss this Christmas Season.
Ten of the Best
1: Oi Ginger
In this installment of Reality Bites, Angela Scanlon – the stylist and fashion journalist – explores one of Ireland’s best known features: our red hair. Angela is a natural redhead herself and in this entertaining documentary she guides us through the experiences – good and bad – of growing up as a ‘Ginger.’
Natural redheads represent a small minority throughout the world. In fact, red is the rarest hair colour for human beings, and is found in less than 1% of the earth’s population. In Ireland, the proportion is much higher: roughly 10% of our population are genuine redheads – and only Scotland has a larger percentage. Angela reveals some of the genetic mysteries that lead to transmission of the special “ginger gene.”
2: REPUBLIC OF TELLY
Join Jennifer Maguire, Bernard O’Shea and new host Kevin McGahern for 2013 boxset of the award winning entertainment show on RTÉ Two
3:Christmas Eve Carols from Dublin Castle RTÉ ONE 6.15
Mary Kennedy presents a rich variety of Christmas music and features from Dublin Castle, with guests including Sinead O’Connor; Coronas’ lead singer Danny O’Reilly; De Dannan; Voice of Ireland winner, Pat Byrne; TeenSpirit; Waterford City Brass and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
4: Mass on Christmas Day RTÉ ONE 10.00
Irish people love a good Mass, so be sure to tune in. RTÉ Religious Programs offer a beautiful mix of Christmas output to bring comfort and joy throughout the Christmas season.
10:15am A Service for Christmas Day with staff and students of Kings Hospital school, Palmerstown, Dublin.
11.00am Urbi et Orbi. Live coverage of the Pope’s Christmas Message from St Peter’s in Rome, with commentary by Fr Thomas McCarthy, O.P.
11.30am Mass for Christmas Day from Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Co. Dublin.
12.25pm A Christmas Message from The Archbishops of Armagh. His Eminence Cardinal Séan Brady and the Most Rev. Richard Clarke, the newly enthroned Church of Ireland Primate and Archbishop of Armagh, share their thoughts and prayers for the Christmas season.
5: #Missing You: Reality Bites RTÉ ONE 9.00 PM
We all know how easy it is to stay in touch with family and friends around the globe these days, thanks in no small part to modern technology, but does that make us miss them any less? Not likely.
Over the course of six months this documentary follow a number of Irish people, far from home, as they keep in touch with their loved ones via Skype video calls. By recording the video conversations of our group, as they call home to their friends and family, we experience everything with them, from big announcements to unexpected moments of everyday magic from Terenure to Malmo, Clonakilty to Perth, and Mullingar to New York.
6: Dermot Morgan – Fearless Funnyman RTÉ ONE 9.50
From Father Trendy to Father Ted, The Live Mike to Scrap Saturday, the man entertained generations and is held in high esteem by pretty much everyone on the island. Tonight a selection of Morgan's family, friends, colleagues and admirers, including Pat Shortt, Oliver Callan and Pauline Mc Lynn look back on the life of the comedian, writer, satirist and actor whose savage wit belied a caring nature and reflect on his place in the annals of comedy greats.
7: New Year’s Eve Live – The Ultimate Gathering RTÉ ONE 10.15
8: Dónal Walsh – My Story RTÉ (Reality Bites) TWO 2.30
The story of cancer stricken teenager Dónal Walsh, who spoke out about suicide and mental health in Ireland before his death earlier this year.
9: Life’s Like This RTÉ TWO
LIFE’S LIKE THIS – User-Generated Documentary Chronicles the Diverse Experiences of Irish Youth Over the Course of a Single Day
10: News2day Review of the Year RTÉ TWO New Years Day
A round-up of all the biggest stories covered by RTÉ news this year
Here's a video with more information about the Coming Home for Christmas promotion and the RTÉ Player: