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.
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.
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.
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.