23 September 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
President Higgins leads TV celebrations this St. Patrick’s Weekend
13 Mar 2013 : By Kevin Cronin
Bono in conversation with President Higgins.
From a special evening of entertainment hosted by President Michael D Higgins to a screening of IFTA-winning Irish language documentary ‘Lón sa Spéir’, all bases are covered in a celebration of Irishness for the year of the Gathering.

The following is a selection of TV highlights coming up this St. Patrick’s weekend.


‘Glaoch: The President’s Call’ - a special celebration of Irish writers, musicians, singers and artists invited to perform at Áras an Uachtaráin - will premiere live online at 9:30pm St Patrick’s night on the RTE Player, RTE.ie, RTE News Now and YouTube. Embracing an international audience, including the Irish diaspora, the programme will stream online at 4:30pm New York time, 17th March, and 8:30am Sydney time, 18th March.

In this special programme dedicated to Irish people worldwide, President Michael D Higgins leads a conversation with an array of Irish celebrities including Bono, Séamus Heaney, Druid Theatre’s Garry Hynes and playwright Tom Murphy and Christy Moore.

President Higgins said: ‘I hope the programme will encourage Irish people everywhere to engage with the valuable resource that is our culture, to look to our creative possibilities and to project our Irishness into the world in the positive way that has been the achievement of our artists and cultural workers.’

Music performances will be provided by Steve Cooney, Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan, Martin Hayes, Imelda May, Christy Moore, Róisín O, Iarla O Lionaird, Peadar O Riada, David Power and The Script.

Produced by South Wind Blows for RTE and supported by the Gathering Ireland 2013, ‘Glaoch’ will be repeated on RTÉ One on Monday March 18th, with an extended version later that evening on RTE Two and on RTE Radio 1 Extra.

The St. Patrick’s Festival Parade kicks off at 12:20pm on Sunday on RTE One, with further details available in a separate article on the IFTN home page. In addition, highlights of the five-day long St Patrick’s festival will be presented by Nicky Byrne at 8:30pm on RTE One, Monday 18th March.

‘War of the Buttons’ on RTE One at 2:05pm on St. Patrick’s Day will provide a nostalgic trip down memory lane for many who grew up with this charming Irish film. Two groups of boys from neighbouring villages engage in an ongoing battle, with the losing side forced to surrender the buttons from their clothing. Classic children’s drama starring Colm Meaney, Gregg Fitzgerald and John Coffey.

‘The Voice of Ireland’ will enter the live shows stage on St Patrick’s night at 7pm on RTE One, with a change of format meaning that all four coaches will have their acts perform and will each lose one act when the results are announced at 9:30pm.


‘Lón sa Spéir’ (Men at Lunch)- this year’s IFTA winner of the Special Irish Language award- airs on TG4 at 9:30pm on St Patrick’s night.

As one of the most iconic images of the 20th century, the photo of construction workers having their lunch on a steel beam 69 storeys high remained a mystery until the details of the men’s identities began to emerge.

The plot thickens when residents of the South Galway village of Shanaglish outside Gort become convinced that two of the men hailed from their village.

‘The Green Fields of America’, at 12:25am, Monday, continues the night’s festivities with a concert of master musicians from the US in Glasgow during Celtic Connections 2011.

‘Faoi Gheasa Ag The Quiet Man’ at 7:15pm on Monday, 18th March, takes a look at the making of one of John Ford’s best-loved films which holds a special place in the heart of global audiences even to this day.

Narrated by Niall Tóibín and timed to coincide with the film’s 60th anniversary, the documentary charts Ford’s 20 year quest to realise a deeply personal project that won two Oscars and made a huge star of Maureen O Hara.


‘Braveheart’ on St Patrick’s night at 9pm receives a welcome re-airing. Such is the power of Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winning 1995 classic that it stands the test of perennial repeat viewings. Whatever its questionable historical accuracy, the film’s stirring music, sweeping landscapes and barbaric battle scenes still pack an emotional punch.

‘In the Name of the Republic’, at 9pm on Monday 18th March, is the first of two programmes examining the War of Independence. Presented by Professor Eunan O'Halpin, the series employs archaeologists to examine victims of conflict from the time.

‘The Dubliners: 50 Years - A Celebration Concert from Dublin’, at 11pm on Monday 18th March, celebrates a half century of music with a special concert bringing together members of the original group with those performing in the current line-up.


St. Patrick's Day Parade highlights from across Ireland will be shown at 6:35pm on St Patrick’s Day, and repeated again at 11:15pm.

‘James Nesbitt's Ireland’, a new series in which the Northern Irish actor examines the history and culture of Ireland, premieres at 8pm on Monday 18th March. In the first episode, Nesbitt’s adventures take in Dingle and Blarney Castle in Cork.


‘Comic Relief’ - the annual evening of entertainment for Red Nose day in the UK kicks off at 7pm on Friday 15th March. Dermot O’Leary and One Direction will both make appearances, with the highlight being the return of Ricky Gervais as David Brent in a special mini-episode of The Office.

‘The Lady Vanishes’- a new BBC adaptation of the novel ‘The Wheel Spins’ made famous by Hitchcock’s movie - will screen at 8:30pm on St Patrick’s night. In 1931, socialite Iris Carr awakes on a train to discover her fellow passenger has disappeared and becomes convinced she has been abducted.

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