Hello and welcome to this year’s Ireland’s Own Christmas Annual, and what an annual we have for you this December!
We are delighted to feature two very popular people that will forever be associated with Christmas in Ireland in this year’s annual. Shane MacGowan invites us around for a Christmas chat and tells us about his upbringing in County Tipperary and the story behind his classic festive hit, The Fairytale of New York, while Nationwide and RTE Carols Concert presenter, Mary Kennedy, also shares her special memories of Christmas with us.
Liam Nolan brings us a special tribute to Dubliner Ronnie Drew, who, it is hard to believe, left us ten years ago this year, and Willie Clancy, the famous trad musician, was born 100 years ago, writes Paul Craven.
The WWI War Truce was condemned in many quarters, and by a young message runner called Hitler, explains Kieran Connolly. James Scannell recalls how the MV Kerlogue rescued German soldiers from the sea just a few days after Christmas, in 1943.
Silent Night was first performed on Christmas Eve 200 years ago, writes Martyn Baguley, and Michael Houlihan looks back on what our ancestors ate for Christmas dinner. Karl O’Neill tells the story of the tragic red shoes, a story connected to the doomed RMS Leinster. We have Christmas recipes from Kylemore Abbey, plus a selection of festive songwords for you to sing along to.
Thomas Myler tells the story behind the making of the festive classic Meet Me In St. Louis; Seán Creedon meets Des Scahill, the recently retired voice of Irish horse racing calling for 47 years, while Alison Martin looks back on RTE’s The Treaty, which first aired in December 1991.
We have lots of memories of Christmas in old Ireland, festive short stories, song, jokes, puzzles and great competitions with cash prizes, books and CDs to be won.
We hope you enjoy our special festive edition, and that you stay well in the coming weeks as the build-up to Christmas really takes off. Keep in out of the bad weather if possible, and most importantly keep warm I’ll look forward to talking to you again soon.
Seán Nolan, Editor, Ireland’s Own
Sing along with your favourite Irish songs – Lots of St. Patrick’s Day favourites to sing along to as well as the best of Irish for the month of March.