General News / December 8, 2020

To Be Irish at Christmas is keeping us connected this holiday season

James Vincent McMorrow by George Voronov
General News / December 8, 2020

To Be Irish at Christmas is keeping us connected this holiday season

Words: Dylan Murphy

The new programme launched by the Department of Foreign Affairs programme a host of cultural events that help us stay connected during Christmas whilst many people can’t return home to Ireland.

To Be Irish at Christmas is a specialled designed online platform designed to keep us connected, no matter where we are this Christmas.

Taking place from 21- 31 December it’ll allow you to share and swap your own special memories of Irish Christmases and celebrate many of the things we love about being Irish through an online programme of Irish music, culture, performances, community engagement and collective spirit from home and abroad. 

A number of special events are programmed exclusively and streamed from We are delighted to reveal that we were able to team up with some of the most exciting acts from Ireland for bespoke editorial and video content. It will focus on the different perspectives of what it means to be Irish at Christmas. Homecoming will premiere on 21 December and feature narration from Gemma Dunleavy and a score from James Vincent McMorrow.

Other parts of the online programme include:

  • Gabriel Byrne will chat about his new book Walking with Ghosts with general secretary General Niall Burgess, acclaimed writer Emma Donoghue, David Donoghue, Author Colum McCann and Irish Ambassador to Kenya Fionnuala Quinlan.
  • A special stream of A Christmas Letter, narrated by Kate Winslet.
  • Midnight mass streamed from Christ Church Cathedral and other concerts including songs from movies and video games with Eímear Noone, who was the first woman to conduct at the Oscars Ceremony. She’ll be conducting the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and singers Sibéal and Jack on St Stephen’s Day.
  • There’s a host of documentaries and archive material from the Irish Film Institute, TG4 and RTÉ Archives.
  • From The Heartland, a remote musical catch-up and the first-ever streaming of The Cobblestone sessions.
  • The well of being. Tune into the Live Bog Project where environmental artist Luke Casserly invites you to take a moment to observe the passing of time in the Midlands bog this December. Take part in the much-loved Goal Mile, which this year is going virtual: Run Apart, Stand Together.
  • Timi Ogunyemi will explore what it means to be Irish today in a unique travel diary entitled To Be More Than.
  • More time at home, more time in the kitchen sees Darina Allen and food writer, chef, and Irish Times columnist Lilly Higgins and TV chef and author Catherine Fulvio provide cooking demonstrations.

You can share what being Irish at Christmas means to you and submit your words, playlists, music and pictures to

Speaking today Minister Colm Brophy said:

“I am delighted to announce this exciting programme of events which will be available to everyone, both at home and abroad, during the festive period. From traditional music to pantos, cooking festive treats, to seeing the Irish landscape through a new perspective, there will be something for everyone in this programme.

There will be new material made especially for this project and we will also have access to archival material so you can revisit your own memories of Christmas past. We have a number of new initiatives such as ‘Dear Santa’ and ‘Things Remembered’ which we hope will create some new memories of an Irish Christmas. During a Christmas like no other, we hope that To Be Irish at Christmas can showcase Ireland at its best to the world.”

The programme goes online at  from 21- 31 December.