Does DAB Radio Work in Ireland

DAB Radio in Ireland

DAB radio was introduced in Ireland in 2006, though it has failed to gain the level of audience share and coverage of DAB radio in the UK.

The majority of Irish listeners listen mainly on FM, and in some parts of the country, DAB radio isn’t available at all.

There is one permanent DAB multiplex, which is operated by RTÉ, Ireland’s public broadcaster. The multiplex uses five transmitters, which are located in Three Rock (Dublin), Clermont Carn, Kippure, Spur Hill (Cork) and Woodcock Hill (Limerick).

According to RTÉ, DAB radio is available to 54% of the population and coverage includes Cork, Limerick and Greater Dublin.

List of DAB Radio Stations in Ireland

The following stations are available on DAB radio in Ireland:

  • RTÉ Radio 1
  • RTÉ Radio 1 Extra
  • RTÉ 2fm
  • RTÉ lyric fm
  • RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta
  • RTÉ Gold
  • RTÉ 2XM
  • RTÉ Junior
  • RTÉ Pulse
  • Juice FM (Cork City only)
  • Radio Maria (Cork City only)
  • UCB Ireland (Cork City only)

A small-scale DAB trial launched in Cork City in August 2018, hence the presence of some Cork-only stations.

More DAB stations used to be available in Ireland from a second multiplex, Mux2, but this has now closed. Sadly, there are plans to close the RTÉ multiplex, this was supposed to go ahead in April 2020 but has since been postponed.


What is FreeDAB in Ireland?

In March of 2019, FreeDAB was set up by a well-known Pirate radio operator in Cork. FreeDAB provides digital radio to areas which don’t have access to as much variety on their DAB radios, bringing a wider range of music styles and programming. Of course, Pirate radio is illegal, so it is not known for how much longer FreeDAB radio channels will be available.

FreeDAB is available on the following blocks:

  • 5A (Dublin and Cork)
  • 5B (North East)
  • 7D (Sligo)


Can You Get BBC Radio on DAB in Ireland?

BBC DAB radio stations only broadcast within the UK, so you probably won’t be able to listen to BBC radio on DAB in Ireland unless you live near the Northern Irish border. You can often receive stations such as BBC Radio 4 on FM in the east and south-east of Ireland.

The best way to listen to BBC stations in Ireland is via the internet, either through the BBC’s website, with a radio app or a standalone internet radio.


Can You Get Irish Radio Stations on DAB in the UK?

Unless you live near the border with the Republic of Ireland, you can’t pick up Irish DAB radio stations in the UK.

RTÉ Radio 1 is available on the longwave frequency 252 kHz, though it was temporarily suspended for 10 weeks in 2019 while the antenna was upgraded.

Despite plans to axe the service in June 2019, it will keep broadcasting until at least 2021, as the service is important to the Irish diaspora in the UK and listeners have been slow to switch to online listening.

To listen to RTÉ Radio 1’s longwave broadcast, you’ll need a radio with an LW band, which most DAB radios don’t have. Several of these shortwave radios have an LW band, so they’d be a better choice.

Unfortunately, RTÉ Radio 1’s longwave broadcast is unavailable in London and South East England due to interference from Radio Algeria. Some have proposed changing the broadcast frequency to avoid this.

There were plans to launch a version of RTÉ Radio 1 on DAB in the UK, but they were turned down by the UK regulator, Ofcom.

The best way to listen to Irish stations in the UK is online using your web browser, internet radio or a radio app.

While there aren’t any Irish radio stations broadcasting from within the UK, there are several radio shows featuring Irish music, news and chat. The Irish Post has published a list of Irish radio shows in the UK here.


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4 thoughts on “DAB Radio in Ireland”

  1. My experience of DAB ;
    I live about 5kM west of the Cork city (Togher) transmitter in an elevated area an can see the TX mast. Due to signals tightly beamed to the city I seem to be getting very little signal off the back of the beam. If DAB is transmitted from the main TX masts then I can foresee terrible problems as we had in the initial days of VHF TV especially in the valleys. Even with multi-element aerials on chimneys signals were terrible. What chance in a car with a short aerial a few feet above the ground ? DAB = Dead And Buried folks !

  2. Moin, ich bin gerade zu Gast in Irland und fahre von Dublin nach Derry und bewege mich hauptsächlich zwischen diesen beiden Städten. Der DAB + Empfang ist super und es sind eine Menge Sender verfügbar!

  3. I have been experimenting with DAB reception for many years. I live in the West of Ireland and have used a high gain Yagi serial and a good quality receiver. My results so far have not been great. Little or nothing from Irish broadcasts but reasonable results from BBC Enniskillen transmitter. RTÉ have given up the battle years ago. DAB is not a wise investment at the moment.
    Kevin Heraty

    1. michael ROYSTON shankland

      you can receive all BBC and all the main RTE radio channels on Freesat throughout UK and Ireland. The big drawback is most of the newer freesat boxes dont have any audio output which you can connect to your audio system-using the freesat box as a radio tuner which means you can only hear the radio through your tv

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