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RTÉ TV reception subject to interruptions in parts of N Ireland

The operator of the Republic of Ireland's transmitter network has announced engineering work that will affect Irish TV and radio reception in parts of Northern Ireland.

Engineering work at the Clermont Carn transmitter during the next few months will affect overspill TV reception across much of southern and eastern parts of Northern Ireland as well as for viewers in the north-eastern corner of the Irish Republic.

The transmitter is located on a 510m high peak in County Louth just a few hundred metres from the Northern Irish border, and provides access to all of the main free-to-air Irish TV channels. Its signal reaches into the Greater Belfast area, and has traditionally been used to gain access to 'Saorview' channels from RTÉ, TV3 and TG4.

Operator 2rn has stated that it expects reduced power or breaks in digital TV transmissions from the Clermont Carn transmitter until 11th June 2018, between 10:00 and 18:00, reducing the availability of Irish TV for up to eight hours during daytime hours.

A complete outage has been predicted for 24th April 2018, for up to four hours between 09:00 and 18:00.

Until 26th April 2018, FM radio services, including all of RTÉ's national services, are also subject to daytime interruptions or reduced power from the same transmitter site, according to 2rn.

Clermont Carn transmitter:
  • In addition to providing TV coverage in County Louth, its signal covers most of the south-eastern quarter of Northern Ireland, including Newry, into parts of Armagh and up to parts of Greater Belfast. Along the east coast, the Mourne Mountains blocks the signal in places.
  • A vertically polarised aerial is used to receive Clermont Carn - the elements run from top to bottom, as opposed to the sideways positioning of the elements on horizontally polarised aerials receiving UK television from Divis.
  • The channels received from Clermont Carn aren't subject to programmes being blocked due to broadcast rights restrictions, as may happen on Sky Northern Ireland and on the services relayed via the Freeview network.
  • Freeview receivers will put Irish channels from Republic of Irelands transmitters in the 800 channel range. Older Freeview receivers may not decode the picture.
  • Some households in the north of Clermont Carn's coverage area, in parts of Belfast, might see RTÉ channels on Freeview channel 52 and 53 - these are relayed on a special NI multiplex from Black Mountain (next to Divis) and Carnmoney Hill as part of the UK Freeview network for the benefit of viewers mostly just outside of the range of Irish overspill reception.
  • Up to 56% of Northern Ireland can receive overspill reception from the Republic of Ireland, according to Ofcom.