Hulk-like transformation: Pat Kenny in his studio at Newstalk. Photograph: Frank Miller

Review: ‘Playback’, ‘Drivetime’, ‘The Pat Kenny Show’ and ‘Down to Business’

Norman Tebbit: Miriam O’Callaghan’s open-ended approach allows glimpses of the person beneath the steely exterior and apparently unfeeling monotone

Review: ‘Sunday With Miriam’, ‘Breakfast’, ‘The Right Hook’, and remembering Tony Fenton

Emmet Kirwan and Nyree Yergainharsian: respond well to the changes in mood, never letting light or dark dominate their performances

The sharp dialogue and narrative energy of this drama of unintended pregnancy mask the timelessness of its core themes

Tony Fenton 1961 - 2015

Tributes paid to Today FM broadcaster who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010

Thought-provoking: Colette Kinsella and Seán Duke, presenters of ‘Life Matters’ on RTÉ Radio 1

Review: Animal rights provoke debate on ‘Life Matters’, but it’s Niamh Cosgrave’s horrific story that makes presenter Sean O’Rourk(...)

Standout: Joe Brolly is a spiky guest on Ray D’Arcy’s show, forthright in his opinions about the GAA while starkly honest about donating a kidney to a friend. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ray D’Arcy’s show lacks fizz but motor enthusiast Anton Savage is heading in the right direction

Pat Kenny: can lack spark. Photograph: Frank Miller

The Newstalk presenter’s waning pulling power is leading to an odd mixture of blandness and dramatic asides

Ryan Tubridy: tackles more serious matters without lapsing into portentousness. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Review: On 2FM, being laid back yields an attractive mix of froth and reflection. On Newstalk, the host’s anger rebounds on him

Ray D’Arcy: any qualms that he might steer clear of contentious issues are dispelled on his second day

Review: Radio 1’s new presenter voices his opinions to bracing effect. The rebooted ‘Media Show’ could learn from such candour

Ray D’Arcy pictured as he started his new afternoon show on RTÉ Radio 1 at the RTÉ Radio Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin this afternoon. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

Topics range from the frivolous to profound on new incarnation of radio programme

Slipping into his new role: Anton Savage. Photograph: Robbie Reynolds

Review: Anton Savage, on Today FM, and Rick O’Shea, on RTÉ 2FM, get off to slow, uncertain starts in their new slots

‘I’m a proper northsider,’ Leo Varadkar told listeners on ‘Sunday With Miriam’. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Review: The airwaves were full of an issue that refuses to shed its significance

George Hook: scattergun opinions on a variety of hot topics

Review: Newstalk host’s need for controversy clouds his performance. Joe Duffy stays calm to better effect

Lively exchange on the Last Word about Liz Delaney’s pub in Coolock which was embroiled in controversy after advertising a Welfare Wednesday drinks promotion night. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Review: ‘Last Word’ host sees wider angles in story about cheap pints for unemployed

Photograph: Dennis Hallinan/Jupiter/Getty

Review: ‘From Dance Hall Days to Boogie Nights’, Will Leahy’s documentary on Irish nightclubs, is more interested in groping in th(...)

Triumphant: Ryan Tubridy. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Review: A good year for Ryan Tubridy, Pat Kenny and Sean O’Rourke. But where are all the women presenters?

Sean Moncrieff discussed the dangers of Christmas at home. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Review: Newstalk host brings wry view to seasonal jollity but comes unstuck on women’s issues

Alison Curtis: taking the helm in Ray D’Arcy’s old slot on Today FM

Review: Canadian finds her voice in RTÉ defector’s old slot, while Pat Kenny loses his cool in a fractious confrontation

Jon Kenny as Mr Hardcastle and Caroline Morahan as Miss Hardcastle

David Pearse steals the show amid a cast playing to the gallery with diverting, shameless slapstick

Jonathan Corrie who was found dead in a hallway near the gates of Leinster House

Review: TDs steered clear of tragic case of homeless man. Sean O’Rourke and Joe Duffy brought humanity

Photograph: Ste Murray
Review: Fused

This intriguing and irreverent show brings point and click action on to the stage. Game over or next level?

Swansong: Clive James’s appearance on The Book Show, on RTÉ, provided the radio moment of the week. Photograph: Hazel Thompson/New York Times

Review: Newstalk’s Breakfast presenter mixes wit and insight to win listeners, but even he cannot lift the lethargy as a guest on (...)

Photograph: Fergal Phillips

A man full of seemingly contradictory elements, the gritty, noirish writer says his new novel is a historical romance

Star of the show: Afternoon Tea

Review: Jelly stars might seem far removed from the Irish Water debacle. But they’re linked

Sean Megraw (right), with brother Kieran  and sister Deirdre Carnegie,  during an earlier  visit to the  bog in Oristown, Co Meath, where the body of their  brother Brendan was discovered. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The cruel plight of the families of disappeared, from an era of carnage that also poisoned sport

Michael O’Brien: ‘We decided to create a new literature for Irish children that didn’t exist. The area was dominated by the British, to the extent that they were reinventing Irish culture with very corny Oirish things, while Irish writers, in order to get published, were becoming Anglophile.’ Photograph: Fergal Phillips

The O’Brien Press is 40. In that time, its founder has broken a lot of ground, from true crime to children’s books

Hot water: Irish Water chief executive John Tierney, accompanied by Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly, talks to journalists at Ringsend waste-water treatment plant. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Review: Brian Dowling brings a tetchy ministerial response on RTÉ Radio 1. Over on Newstalk, George Hook finds a panto partner in (...)

Chris O’Dowd: toe-curling interview with Miriam O’Callaghan. Photograph: Getty Images

Miriam O’Callaghan could learn a lot from Seán Moncrieff’s detached style

Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The American writer has resuscitated Frank Bascombe for ‘Let Me Be Frank With You’, his new, very funny book. Its stories, like th(...)

Eloquent: abuse survivor Maíria Cahill outside Government Buildings this week. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Review: Party TDs stay on message in the IRA sex-abuse controversy, but others are less reticent during a week of compelling radio(...)

Deceptively amiable: Cormac Ó hEadhra

Cormac Ó hEadhra brings shock jock chutzpah to RTÉ’s panel show, while ‘Liveline’ shows the budget hasn’t ended people’s pain

Kathleen Chada outside Dublin Central Criminal Court this week after her husband was jailed for murdering their sons. Photograph: Collins Courts

Review: Heartbreaking moments as mother recalls her ‘bright, gorgeous, happy boys’

Review: Spring Awakening

Frank Wedekind’s 1981 drama gets a subtle upgrade in this enthusiastic DYT production

Rough magic: Benjamin Verdonck

An actor’s pottering around a ramshackle stage may not be dramatic but it becomes quietly hypnotic

Review: Spinning

Deirdre Kinahan captures the claustrophobia of small town society and family life in a play that transcends its bleak premise

Cheering for Ireland: Charlie Chawke. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Review: The publican’s staff preferences rile the 2FM presenter, as Pat Kenny has a telling chat with Fine Gael’s humbled Seanad c(...)

Lisa Dwyer Hogg and Sam O’Mahony. Photograph: Pat Redmond
Review: The Mariner

Hugo Hamilton’s nuanced first World War drama looks at the family fallout after the return of an injured sailor

Heavy lifting: Mark Ryan and John Kennedy of the HSA stand at the National Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Alan Betson

Review: While Sean O’Rourke, on RTÉ, and Pat Kenny, on Newstalk, get stuck in at the National Ploughing Championships, ‘Breakfast (...)

Clean living: former AIB trader John Rusnak in one of the laundries he now runs in Baltimore

Review: A banker’s remorse makes for rare radio when John Rusnak appears on the RTÉ presenter’s show. On Newstalk, George Hook mak(...)

Peter Coonan and Gary Lydon in Borstal Boy
Review: Borstal Boy

The stage version of Behan’s classic lacks subtlety but makes for rollicking entertainment

This show, exploring the life of Peig Sayers, pushes the limits of decency to breaking point

Review: The Belle Bottoms

This pair might have sass to burn, but the lame jokes mean this comedy never quite gets off the ground

Poet Paul Muldoon: “Even at his most vituperative there was a vitality”

Arts community praises Paisley’s vitality, but some find it hard to forgive his divisive role

Slice of the Apple: U2 with Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, in California. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters

The band’s free album prompts cosy memories on ‘Liveline’, but Ray D’Arcy takes a more jaded view

Review: Lurky! Lurky!

This ‘live edited dance film’ undercuts its erotic charge with goofy comedy

Review: Dublin Oldschool

It fizzes, it cracks, it whips and raps: Dublin free style

Review: Wrapped

Wrappers delight in this narcotic-flavoured character study

Lad humour: Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore

Blokey gags fail to mask deeper failings. For a lesson in radio control, tune in to Pat Kenny

Ill-judged narration: Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh

Despite a misfiring narrator, ‘The Scandal of Mrs Leeson, Lyric FM’s documentary about a madam in Georgian Dublin, is compelling f(...)

Rabble roused: callers make Dublin sound like a cross between Trainspotting and Hogarth’s Gin Lane. Photograph: Culture Club/Getty

Joe Duffy’s show on RTÉ Radio 1 turns the capital’s descent into the abyss. Over on 2FM, Ryan Tubridy has an unexpectedly global o(...)

Nicky Byrne: effortlessly convivial

Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene are cheery hosts but stunningly banal. It’s a chirpy John Murray who provides more substance

Audrey Carville: the journalist has been doing a sterling job as a summer presenter on Drivetime

Impartiality unintentionally skews RTÉ news show’s coverage of Palestinian conflict, while Jon Snow’s outrage is more deliberate (...)

A documentary on four Donegal brothers with a passion for surfing has a romance of its own

Exit stage left: Garth Brooks in Croke Park in January. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The debacle surrounding the Croke Park concerts gets serious attention, with only Ray D’Arcy striking the right note

Stepping in as guest host for Marian Finucane (RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday and Sunday), O’Carroll’s talents are soon tested to the limit. Photograph:Brian McEvoy

Brendan O’Carroll brings a big heart into studio – he’s like a modern-day ‘Danny Boy’

World Cup Supporters’ Club: John Murray

It’s bad enough that the soccer agnostics complain incessantly about the soccer tournament, but do we need so many wacky items on (...)

Mattress Mick, who was hailed by a desperate Tubridy as “the stuff of legend”. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The seasonal news lull is certainly a challenge for talk-radio hosts, but last week’s items sank like a saggy mattress

Ritual: ‘Documentary on One: Mairéad’s First Communion’ (RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday),   tracked the progress of a young girl as she prepared to take the sacrament despite the misgivings of her lapsed Catholic parents

From first communion to the Tuam home, some Irish rites and institutions are enough to confound anyone

Tuam scandal: a grotto at the site of the former mother-and-baby home  in Co Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Niall Boylan of 4FM has a personal angle on the Tuam scandal while John Bowman revisits an anti-jazz campaign

Philip Boucher-Hayes: his air of patrician forbearance sounds close to breaking point at times

RTÉ Radio 1’s phone-in, hosted by an election-fatigued Philip Boucher-Hayes, is high on opinion but low on coherence. For a quietl(...)

Marty Whelan: He do the police in different voices

Marty Whelan is an odd fit on Lyric FM, but even his wacky style is a good deal more inspirational than daytime on 2FM

Newstalker: Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates is the big name on Newstalk’s morning show, but his quietly relentless co-presenter steals his thunder

Former minister Alan Shatter. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Sympathy for the former minister comes from unexpected corners and water charges remain stubbornly opaque

Ryan Tubridy. Photograph: Frank Miller

Lacking celebrity guests, the RTÉ host goes for the emotions, but his Today FM rival produces stars as well as tears

Rwandese refugees cross Rusumo border to Tanzania from Rwanda in  May, 1994. Phorograph:  REUTERS/Jeremiah Kamau/Files

Kathryn Thomas is a vivid if surprising guide through the country’s rich musical heritage and brutal recent history

Sean Moncrieff: an accomplished radio performer who flirts with flippancy.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Newstalk presenter marries the trivial and the serious to bracing effect, but Miriam O’Callaghan’s witty remarks fall flat (...)

Vikings: the television series stars Gabriel Byrne and Travis Fimmel

The Vikings are back on our screens and in our galleries but the romantic notions of their wild spirit is a cheerful distortion (...)

  Duncan Stewart on Newstalk: ‘Give me 10 minutes or I’m not staying in this studio’

RTE’s coverage of State visit may be a good omen for Anglo-Irish relations but it was bad news for listeners

A solemn undertaking: discretion is second nature to funeral directors. Photograph: Getty

Undertakers could teach Pat Kenny and Ray D’Arcy a thing or two about tact and discretion

News At One’s anchor Áine Lawlor has to deal with dropped connections, dead air and discombobulated contributors Frantic activity: on the News at One, Áine Lawlor has to deal with dropped connections, dead air and discombobulated contributors

Confused commentators were tied in knots trying to unravel the Garda controversy. Maybe RTÉ’s new science series could help make (...)

Everyman bonhomie: John Murray. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

John Murray’s jocular style often masks an inventive approach on his RTÉ programme

Mother’s pride: When the Today FM DJ Alison Curtis told Irish friends she was taking citizenship, they asked why

When Ray D’Arcy meets people who have taken citizenship it’s a telling snapshot of Irish life. Shock jock Adrian Kennedy’s daytime(...)

The Westlife singer is a chirpy on-air presence, but his weekday radio show is as bland as his former boy band’s hits

Justifiably famous:  Gay Byrne presenting his Time Warp show on Lyric FM. Photograph: Alan Betson

Gay Byrne’s Sunday anecdotes suggest the veteran host is as stimulating as ever; Sharon Ní Bheoláin proves her mettle on ‘Liveline(...)

Falling short: Bernard O’Shea, Jennifer Maguire and Keith Walsh of Breakfast Republic

‘Breakfast Republic’, the RTÉ station’s new morning show, is as forced as it is unfunny. Its presenters, Bernard O’Shea, Jennifer (...)

Former Olympic boxer Kenneth Egan, with Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald.  Egan revealed that Fitzgerald told him he didn’t “really need to know about politics” to run for election. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Covert surveillance and official arrogance: Joe Duffy plays to the gallery, and Matt Cooper handles Kenneth Egan with kid gloves (...)

Mock no more: Liverpool-Irish country star Nathan Carter is the subject of a gushing paean by Marie-Louise O’Donnell

RTÉ celebrates country music with abandon but approaches the homophobia controversy with caution

Playful air: John Murray’s jolly front belies his ability for acute observations

The RTÉ Radio 1 host’s lighthearted style has its appeal, but a more thoughtful interview technique wouldn’t go amiss

Raw material: for all that Derek Mooney  laces his patter with coy references and saucy asides, he has never seemed one for the wilfully explicit

The RTÉ presenter’s usual quirky cosiness gave way to sympathetic space for an outsider’s tale, while a garda whistleblower yielde(...)

Tweeted: Matt Cooper with Dennis Rodman

The ‘Last Word’ presenter said little about his trip to North Korea to meet Dennis Rodman, but he didn’t hide his annoyance at the(...)

Going nowhere for now: George Hook. Photograph: Fennell Photography

The Today FM host showed he can still outrage and entertain. As for George Hook, he has begun his long goodbye

The presence of Pat Kenny on the Newstalk schedules seemed to prove the veracity of one particularly well-roasted old chestnut: people in the private sector work harder than their public service counterparts. Photograph: Frank Miller

The Newstalk presenter provided a welcome presence during the holiday period, while a guest host shone in an RTE star’s absence

 The Second Captains team, from left: Simon Hick, Ciaran Murphy, Ken Early, Eoin McDevitt and Mark Horgan, Malachy Logan, sports editor of The Irish Times (centre left) and Malachy Clerkin, sports reporter (extreme right). The team’s sudden departure from Newstalk’s Off the Ball programme was one the biggest talking points in Irish radio this year. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Pat Kenny’s move to Newstalk was the big story, but there were more notable presences - and absences - on radio in 2013

Axed: Hector Ó hEochagáin

The ‘commander of the dawn’ Hector Ó hEochagáin signed off in bolshie fashion

Released: Nelson Mandela in Soweto in 1990, four days after he left prison. Photograph: Georges De Keerle/Getty

On Newtalk, George Hook tackles a black-and-white issue while Ivan Yates airs some shibboleths of his own

Ray D’Arcy: has an easy acceptance of people for who they are, as well as an instinct for bringing all aspects of Irish life into the wider national conversation

Ray D’Arcy proved his mastery of popular radio, while John Murray took a wrong Direction

Dave Fanning: his weekend slot revolves around voices, particularly his own

He may talk a mile a minute, but Dave Fanning’s quickfire chat is always entertaining

For fans of the presenter’s soft-focus style, two weeks away seemed like a lifetime, but now she’s back in the cosy seat in ‘Sunda(...)

Born by artificial insemination: baby Aodhan, whose mother, Angela, was followed in ‘Pregnant on My Lunchbreak’

It was weird hearing Ryan Tubridy using the B-word in a discussion about women, but at least he showed a little bite. Elsewhere on(...)

Back behind the mic: John Murray in the studio on Monday. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

Sean O’Rourke still has a newsreadery tendency on his RTÉ show – but his colleague John Murray made a poignantly light return to t(...)

Guns for hire: Thompson sub-machine guns and other weapons being fired in the US in the 1930s. Photograph: Vintage Images/Getty

The Newstalk host’s irreverent approach shed new light on a lethal subject while Marian Finucane heard a troubling hidden history (...)

Sen David Norris at the Today FM studios on Monday, after he had his beard shaved off in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Armageddon, abduction and aliens: amid the scary stories on The Last Word and Drivetime, the senators appearance on The Ray D’Arcy(...)

Test Ministers: Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, left, and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin at the RTÉ radio centre after appearing on the Today with Sean O’Rourke  show. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ryan Tubridy preferred crime stories to budgetary matters as Sean O’Rourke hosted an awkward encounter for Minister Howlin

Easygoing: Marty Morrissey celebrates with Clare hurlers Conor Ryan and Colin Ryan at September’s All-Ireland final replay. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The sports presenter brings a new degree of inanity to the ‘Mooney’ slot on RTÉ, but Tom Dunne’s move to night time has helped the(...)

Host with the most?: Pat Kenny. Photograph: Frank Miller

The Newstalk presenter lacked big guests but made sparks fly. Over on RTÉ Radio 1, George Lee went gloriously off-piste

Monologue: Leanne Best as Sal in The Match Box, from 2012, which Frank McGuinness wrote for Liverpool Playhouse
Playing out on stage

The best of Frank McGuinness

Bleak vision: Frank McGuinness. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Frank McGuinness’s new play, The Hanging Gardens, and Arimathea, the novel he thought he should write as research for it, draw dee(...)

Overbearing: Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

In an on-air battle of the belly laughs, the Newstalk presenter’s loud, from-the-hip patter was the clear winner

Exile on Benburb Street

Anu’s immersive snapshot of a young emigrant has an authentic ring

Simon Schama: unflappable charm and erudition. Photograph: Tim Kirby/Oxford Film and Television/BBC

As Sean O’Rourke and Pat Kenny settle into their new slots on RTÉ Radio 1 and Newstalk, it’s hard to tell what’s changed

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