Crowds expected to flock to Christmas Eve carol services

Get your seats early for Pro-Cathedral, but no room at the inn for St Patrick’s Cathedral

People who may be planning to attend the popular Nine Lessons and Carols service at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, this afternoon are advised not to go along unless they already have tickets.

The service, which will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio, begins at 4pm. It will be streamed live at stpatrickscathedral.ie.

Those hoping to attend the Christmas carols service with the Palestrina Choir at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral on Marlborough Street at 9.30pm are strongly encouraged to be there early to get seats.

No tickets are required but the cathedral is generally full long before this annual service begins.

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The carols will be followed by Mass of Christmas Night at 10pm, which generally is known as Midnight Mass these days in churches across Ireland.

Principal celebrant at the Pro Cathedral is Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin. The Palestrina Choir with orchestra will take part, directed by Blánaid Murphy.

Music will be Haydn's Missa Sancti Nicolai, with Handel's For Unto Us a Child is Born. Organist Prof Gerard Gillen will perform Toccata from Symphony No 5 by Charles-Marie Widor, with organ scholar Robbie Carroll.

The Christmas Day dawn Mass at the Pro Cathedral, with the Girls' Choir, will be at 10am tomorrow while the main Mass of the day will be celebrated by Dr Martin at 11am with the priests of the parish. At Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral there will be a midnight Eucharist tonight from 11pm with Louis Vierne's Messe Solennelle and the Hodie Christus natus est by Francis Poulenc.

Tomorrow's Christmas Day Festal Sung Eucharist is at 11am. Music will be Haydn's Missa Sancti Nicolai, with the Nativity Carol by John Rutter. The preacher will be Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Tomorrow, Christmas morning’s Holy Eucharist at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is at 9.15am with the Choral Eucharist at 11am sung by the Cathedral (boys’ and men’s) choir.

On Sunday, services will be at the usual times: 9.15am Holy Eucharist, 11.15am Choral Eucharist, and 3.15pm Choral Evensong.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Black Santa Sit-Out continues outside St Ann's Church on Dublin's Dawson Street where vicar Canon David Gillespie, staff and volunteers from the parish, as well as clerical colleagues, have been collecting for charity from 10am to 6pm each day since December 17th. The service concludes at 6pm today.

Last year more than €30,000 was distributed to causes such as the Salvation Army, the Simon Community and the Peter McVerry Trust, all of which work with the homeless.

Other charities supported include Protestant Aid, Barnardos, Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Laura Lynn Foundation and the Solas Project.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times