TV guide: Six of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Including Rose of Tralee, House of the Dragon and Cold Case Collins

Creedon’s Atlas of Ireland

Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Since Covid restrictions were lifted, the world and his granny have been getting the hell out of Dodge and flying off to sunny destinations. But John Creedon is still in staycation mode, and in this new series of his Atlas of Ireland he’s setting off to uncover the fascinating stories behind many of Ireland’s placenames. In the opening episode, he looks at the influence of the bards — or filí — on Ireland’s towns and villages, with help from experts such as Prof Pádraig Ó Macháin and Dr Emma Nic Cárthaigh, and well-known names including actor Emmet Kirwan, architect Hugh Wallace and actor/comedian Pat Shortt. His itinerary takes him from Tallaght to Tipperary and from Bruree in Co Limerick to the Beara Peninsula in Cork, where Creedon’s own people hail from.

Rose of Tralee 2022

Monday and Tuesday, RTÉ One, 8pm

RTÉ's annual lovely girls competition had to sit out the past couple of years due to that feckin’ Covid, now the Roses are back and ready to charm the nation once again as the festival celebrates its 61st year. Given the forced hiatus, you’d imagine RTÉ would want to change things up a bit and freshen up the format. Not a bit of it — it’s business as usual as presenter Dáithí Ó Sé interviews the 33 hopefuls on the stage of the festival dome in Tralee, and the girls put their best foot forward and deliver their party pieces. They’ll be coming from far and wide — including Ireland, the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and the Middle East — in the hope of being crowned Rose of Tralee 2022. This is Ó Sé's 11th year presenting the show, so he’s past the halfway mark in catching up with Gay Byrne, who compered the show for 20 years.

House of the Dragon

Monday, Sky Atlantic and Now, 9pm

Before the pandemic, the world was in the grip of GoT fever as the HBO series based on the George RR Martin books inserted itself into the cultural bloodstream. Now at last we return to Westeros and a whole new epic adventure — great news for Game of Thrones fans and Northern Irish tourism. But will ratings lightning strike twice, or will this be just another anaemic swords-and-sex romp in an increasingly crowded fantasy space? House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events in Game of Thrones, and focuses on the decline of House Targaryen in the years leading up to the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons (Throners will know all this stuff already). The sprawling cast includes former Doctor Who Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Paddy Considine as King Viserys I Targaryen and Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. King Viserys is under pressure to name an heir to the Iron Throne — will it be his younger brother Daemon or his daughter Rhaenyra? Whatever way he chooses, you can bet there’ll be battles, intrigue and lots of fiery dragons involved.

Cold Case Collins

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

“Okay, chief, what are we looking at?”


“Cold case — guy shot dead on a country road, might have been an ambush.”

“Any clues? Witnesses?”

“Happened 100 years ago, so not much left to go on. And here’s the funny thing: there’s no record of an autopsy and no death certificate.”

“Any apparent motive?”

“Dude was some military bigshot or other. Woulda made a few enemies.”

“Sounds like a cool customer, all right. Victim have a name?”

“Michael Collins.”

In this special commemorative programme, investigators reopen the cold case killing of the Irish revolutionary leader in Béal na mBláth on August 1922, and though it’s not quite CSI: West Cork, this procedural uses 21st century technology to piece together the events of that fateful day a century ago. It starts with a dramatic enactment of an investigation that never happened, as key figures in the Civil War and War of Independence are called up to give testimony. Then former State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy chairs an expert group of forensic scientists, military strategists, archaeologists and historians to look for definitive answers to the most divisive whodunit in modern Irish history.

Welcome to Wrexham

From Thursday, Disney+

Help! We bought a football team. Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds can currently be seen in time-travelling sci-fi film The Adam Project, but here’s another project that’s taking up his time: owning and caring for a fifth-tier English football team and trying to turn this underdog club into serious league contenders. Jeez, it’s like the plot of a Hollywood movie. Reynolds co-owns Wrexham with his mate Rob McElhenney, star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; neither has a clue about football or how to run a club, so they’re going to have to learn some very special skills as owners of one of the world’s oldest football teams, and gain the respect of the fans and the townspeople of Wrexham, who are pretty invested in their team’s fortunes. Can two Hollywood players reignite the Red Dragons and turn them into box-office gold?

See: The Final Chapter

From Friday, Apple TV+

Jason Momoa returns for one more post-apocalyptic adventure in the third and final season of the dystopian sci-fi series, set in a future where everyone is blind and those that can see must be hunted down as witches and destroyed. Somewhere in the distant past (around the 21st century) most of humanity was wiped out by a virus, and the descendants of the survivors soon lost the ability to see. Now, the very idea of seeing has become a myth and mention of this fifth sense is considered heresy. Momoa plays fearless tribe leader Baba Voss, who vows to protect his adopted children — who are “sighted” — from Queen Sibeth’s witch-hunters. In season three, Baba Voss is living remotely in the forest after defeating his brother Edo, but when a new kind of weapon emerges to threaten humanity, Baba has to go back to his old job protecting his tribe from all attackers. With many of the cast and crew having some form of visual impairment, this series never loses sight of inclusivity.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist