Both the Republic and the North have a wide range of daily and weekly newspapers, the latter often county-based in their coverage. The choices for Ireland-based TV are more limited both sides of the border, but there’s an abundance of local radio stations, together with several national stations in the Republic.
Newspapers and magazines
The Republic’s most popular middlebrow newspapers are the Irish Times and the more populist Irish Independent. Though generally liberal, if sometimes tinged by old-fashioned Ascendancy attitudes, the Times offers comprehensive news coverage of events both at home and abroad and often excellent features – its website www.irishtimes.com also has plenty of listings. The Independent (www.independent.ie) has a more right-of-centre outlook, while the Irish Examiner (formerly the Cork Examiner; www.irishexaminer.com) has a Munster-based focus and generally less analytical coverage of news. Sundays see the publication the Sunday Independent (same website as its daily sister), and the Sunday Business Post (www.sbpost.ie), which offers a wider selection of stories than its name implies. British newspapers are commonly available in Dublin and other cities and some produce Irish editions.
Every county has at least one weekly newspaper, often conservative and usually crammed with local stories of little interest to outsiders. However, some, such as the Kerryman, the Kilkenny People and the Donegal Democrat often provide good coverage of local events and very readable features. To delve deeper into the seamy world of Irish politics, turn to the monthly Village (www.villagemagazine.ie) or the satirical fortnightly magazine Phoenix (www.thephoenix.ie).
The North’s two morning dailies, both tabloids, are the Nationalist Irish News (www.irishnews.com) and the Unionist News Letter (www.newsletter.co.uk), while Sunday sees the Sunday World (www.sundayworld.com). The widest circulation however belongs to the evening broadsheet Belfast Telegraph (which now comes out around noon and has a very informative website (www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk); its Unionist stance has become progressively more liberal over the years. Also worth purchasing is the biweekly Derry Journal (www.derryjournal.com). All UK national daily and Sunday papers are also available in the North.
Television and radio
In the Republic, the state-sponsored Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ; www.rte.ie) operates three TV channels. As well as imported shows, the main news and current affairs channel, RTÉ 1, also features the popular home-grown Dublin-based soap, Fair City, and Friday’s Late Late Show, a long-standing chat and entertainment institution. RTÉ 2 is a little more bubbly, with a smattering of locally produced programmes, though still swamped by imported tat and overburdened by sporting events. Some of the most innovative viewing is provided by the Irish-language channel TG4 (which provides English subtitles; www.tg4.ie), including excellent traditional-music shows and often incisive features on the culture of Irish-speaking areas. The independent channel TV3 (www.tv3.ie) churns out a dire mix of dated films and imported soaps and sitcoms, while its sister channel 3e offers even more programmes you’ll be very keen to miss. In most of the Republic, the four major British terrestrial TV channels are available on cable or satellite, as well as a vast number of other digital and freeview channels such as Sky, CNN and Eurosport. The Republic also has its own dedicated cable/satellite sports channel, Setanta (www.setanta.com).
RTÉ also operates four radio stations, three of which are English-language: the mainstream RTÉ Radio 1 (FM 88–89), whose morning shows are largely devoted to current affairs and chat; RTÉ 2FM (FM 90–92), which is more music- and youth-oriented; and Lyric FM (FM 96–99), which mixes popular classics with jazz and occasionally inspiring world-music shows. Raidió na Gaeltachta (FM 93) is the national Irish-language station, with broadcasts including much traditional music. The national commercial radio station, Today FM (FM 100–102), offers a largely bland schedule of MoR music shows, and Newstalk (FM 106–108) is self explanatory. There are also numerous local radio stations across the Republic.
Northern Ireland receives television and radio programmes from the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland) and has a limited, if often keenly followed, number of locally produced current-affairs productions. On BBC Radio Ulster (FM 92.4–95.4), Talkback (Mon–Fri noon–1.30pm) offers lively discussions on the North’s political situation. The BBC’s main commercial rival, Ulster Television (www.u.tv) relies on the standard ITV diet of soaps and drama. In most parts of the North you can also watch or listen to RTÉ programmes.