The Saturday Café

A Christmas extravaganza is happening at WIT Arena in June!

A Christmas extravaganza is happening at WIT Arena in June! A Christmas extravaganza is happening at WIT Arena in June!
Mary O'Neill

An extravaganza of Christmas music is taking place at the WIT Arena in June as a fundraiser for Brain Tumour Ireland.

Maria was joined in studio by Barbara Dowling, who's curating the event on June 26th, with tickets available via Eventbrite.

Barbara explained to Maria that she's had serious health issues, having been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an inoperable brain tumour, and thyroid cancer, all in the space of 24 hours.

Barbara outlined that she's remission from cancer a full year and is doing well. She's also getting treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, and she's living with a non-cancerous tumour on her brain.


A musician by trade, she describes herself as "a total and utter Christmas nut," saying she's loved it since a young child. She also pointed out that not everyone can celebrate Christmas in December due to illness or other reasons.

Barbara told Maria that the original idea of staging the Christmas event at WIT was prompted by the story of Ronnie Fehily, a fellow "Christmas nut," who was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Ronnie's family organised Christmas for her in October, and she sadly died a short time later.

Barbara outlined to Maria what will happen on the day, which will include a huge orchestra of about 200 people who are travelling from all over the world.

As well as high profile Irish musicians, drummers from Riverdance, and cellists from Spain will be part of the line up.  All participants will fund the event too.


Have a listen to Barbara's chat with Maria through the link in this podcast, where she discusses kayaking along Lough Ree as a fundraiser for the concert.

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