The Toy Show | An Irish Tradition


It’s the last Friday in November. You know what that means. It is the day we have been counting down to for weeks. It’s Friday night. There’s not a soul on the streets. Everyone is inside glued to their televisions. Who cares about Black Friday. The American tradition has absolutely no place in the average Irish household, because tonight is all about THE LATE LATE TOY SHOW!!!!! For those of you who have’t heard of this annual Christmas television spectacle, you are seriously missing out. It is an integral part of Irish culture and, to be honest, only Irish people really understand the joy that it brings. Other nationalities just don’t get it! Believe me, I watched it last year with my French friends!! But don’t worry, I am here to educate you. Very briefly that is, as I all my attention is being directed at the telly right now – after all, the happiest show of the year is on!!!

What is the Late Late Toy Show? Basically, the Late Late Show is the world’s longest running talk-show, hosted by Ryan Tubridy every Friday night from RTE studios in Dublin. On the last Friday of November, the set of the Late Late is transformed into every kids dream Christmas playground with hundreds of toys, brightly coloured Christmas decorations and an audience full of adults dressed in tinsel and Santa hats! Thousands of children audition to be on the show and this year a record number 269 kids got a coveted place to perform or to be a toy tester. The Toy Show is all things Christmas personified – music, toys, singing, dancing, celebrities, awkward moments, silliness and childlike glee, for kids and adults alike! As the show is broadcasted live, you can only imagine how entertaining it can be – kids say the darndest things folks!

Who is Ryan Tubridy? This is Ryan Tubridy, or Tubs as he is fondly known to the Irish people. He is an Irish Radio & Television personality, and the host of the Late Late Show! Love him or hate him, he rocks those Christmas jumpers every year! *All promotional photo credit goes to RTE*


How many toys were on this year’s Toy Show? 200 toys were featured and over 300 toys were embedded in the set design! Special kids were given toys to play with and test at home, and then come onto live TV and review them for the nation. Some of them are great. Some of them get stage fright. All of them are really really cute! And yes, this year Frozen was featured. One too many times!

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Can anyone be a member in the audience for the Toy Show? I have good news and bad news. The good news is that anyone can apply for tickets, and tickets are free! The bad news is that audience tickets are like gold dust. You may only apply once. Multiple applications will disqualify you from applying! So basically, you can dream but you will probably never ever hear the words that every Irish person longs to hear. “There’s one for everybody in the audience!” Damn you Toy Show audience, you get so much cool free stuff!!!!

What is your favourite memory from the Toy Show? Staying up SUPER late as a kid as I didn’t want to miss a minute of it (even though it is repeated the following Sunday afternoon!). But more recently, ask any Irish person about JohnJoe, and their eyes will light up and know exactly who he is – the little boy who wants to be a horologist when he grows up. Watch the below video. Your heart will melt!

The highlight from this year’s show for me has to be the sheer amount of talented kids that performed. The Late Late Toy Show is like the talent competition where EVERYONE wins – participants and spectators. I have never seen so many extraordinarily talented kids in one place before!!!


Special mention goes to Ed Sheeran who surprised a girl while she was singing one of his songs into a karaoke machine! He told her he knew she tried to get tickets to his show in Dublin, and said he would pay for her family to fly to London to see him in July!! The sheer excitement and joy on that girl’s face was too much for me. OH SO MANY FEELS!!!! She came back out on stage later and sang with him again. There is a reason we all love Ed Sheeran in Ireland, and it’s not just because his grandparents are Irish.. although that helps!

So if you have ever wanted to know what it’s like to be truly Irish, watch the Toy Show! You mightn’t get a lot of the references or the hysterically funny, and often unintentionally inappropriate, humour, but that’s the beauty of it. If anyone is interested, this year’s Late Late Toy Show will be up on RTE Player tomorrow for all to enjoy tomorrow. Remember, it’s not really Christmas until you’ve seen the Toy Show!



This Day Last Year: 28th November 2013 – Giving Thanks



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