Hello and welcome
to Ireland’s Own.
The Christmas Annual 2021 is here! Another year is nearing its end, and we have had an exciting few months planning, and producing, a very special festive issue for you all to enjoy.
Eileen Grace is fully aware of how popular her husband, comedian and fantastic all-round performer, Brendan, remains with Ireland’s Own readers, and she very kindly shares with us cherished memories of Christmases at home with the star who brought characters like Bottler to life.
Popular RTE commentator George Hamilton has just launched his autobiography, and he shares his own Christmas memories including how his award-winning baker grandfather used to open up his ovens for the people of Belfast to cook their turkeys on Christmas Eve.
June McDonnell catches up with evergreen performing duo Foster & Allen who share memories of their childhood Christmases. Colm Keane recalls the last time he interviewed Waterford’s Val Doonican and remembers his TV specials that millions of viewers tuned in to watch at Christmastime.
Thomas Myler goes behind the scenes of the Christmas classic movie ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’, Seán Hall tells the stories of popular festive songs ‘War is Over’ and ‘Last Christmas’, while Eugene Dunphy charts the origins of ‘The Wexford Ballad’.
Mary Kennedy shares her family’s festive traditions, Michael Lyster says Christmas is a perfect time of the year for reflection, and Maxi profiles Hollywood’s living legend, Robert Redford.
Tiernan Dolan recalls the horror that the people of Longford woke up to some years back when St Mel’s Cathedral went on fire on Christmas Day; Melanie Ward tells the stranger than fiction story of ‘The Mistletoe Bride’ and Melanie also writes about ‘The Mummers of Aughakillymaude’.
Humphrey Bogart was born on Christmas Day, writes Michael Grehan, while Richard T. Cooke remembers Brian O’Higgins, the Irish Rebel and Christmas Poet. Eddie Ryan writes about Clare’s Christmas Journey in his sports column, while Seán Creedon recalls sports stars we lost during 2021.
We have lots of Christmas short stories, memories, competitions, jokes, songs, puzzles, Cassidy Says, Dan Conway’s Corner, Kitty the Hare, Miss Flanagan, Marjorie’s Kitchen, June McDonnell’s Irish Music Diary, recommended books, pen pals, Cinema Quiz, Alan Frost’s bumper crossword and much much more.
There is also a special festive message from Fr. Brian D’Arcy, a long-time great friend of Ireland’s Own.
We really hope that you enjoy this year’s Annual, and I will look forward to chatting to you all again next week. Until then, take care, and let us be the first to wish you and yours a peaceful and pleasant Christmas 2021.
Seán Nolan, Editor, Ireland’s Own