Not having to work at Christmas is great -- Anne
news reader Anne Doyle will be spending her first Christmas in years away from television cameras --and she's loving it.
RTE's 'queen of the screen' took early retirement and bade farewell to viewers during Christmas 2011.
And she has not missed the pressures of live news broadcasts.
"The sheer novelty of not having to work on Christmas Eve is wonderful," said the doyenne of Irish news readers.
"Normally I'd end being hugely late in the studio on Christmas Eve but not this year."
"I'm finding that being retired is going surprisingly well, thank you," she beamed.
But she never intended swapping her role on one side of the television screen to become a couch potato for the festive season. She declared: "I'm not a huge television viewer.
"I much prefer a good read. My friends are great for giving me good books for Christmas," she said.
Anne waxed lyrical about life without the stresses of deadlines and studio clocks. "I must say I can heartily recommend the freedom of retirement. I was sort of ready in my own head for it and I didn't give it a thought.
"I would have gone two years earlier but there was no money on offer then."
Her festive season plans this year involve going along with eager youngsters to the Jedward panto in Dublin and then going horse-racing on December 27.
This year's holidays have resulted in her being surrounded by a menagerie of singing toys.
"I have a singing karaoke reindeer, a singing polar bear, and a singing Santa. When they're all singing different songs together it's time to reach for the brandy. They might all end up flying out the window yet."
Doyle (60) appeared on The John Murray Show recently to launch A Murray Christmas, the collaborative CD in aid of Aware.
She has been involved with the charity promoting services to combat depression in Ireland for more than 20 years.
The Wexford-born broadcast veteran said recently she likes to help Aware any way she can.
"I think that they do wonderful work. Anything that helps them and helps raise money for people struggling is a really good cause," she said.
Anne says she has been busy acting as an ambassador for her home town of Wexford, among other projects.