Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
|National selection events||National Song Contest
You're a Star
The Late Late Show
|Appearances||47 (44 finals)|
|Best result||1st: 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996|
|Worst result||Last: 2007, 2013|
|RTÉ website four|
|Ireland's page at Eurovision.tv|
Ireland is the most successful country in the Eurovision Song Contest. They first took part in the 1965 Contest in Naples, participating in every subsequent Contest but two: the 1983 Contest in Munich and the 2002 Contest in Tallinn. Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) is Ireland's representative broadcaster at the Contest, and broadcasts the Contest annually; the semi-finals are broadcast on RTÉ Two and the final on RTÉ One. All of the Irish entries have been performed in English with the exception of the 1972 entry, "Ceol an Ghrá", which was sung in Irish.
On seven occasions the Contest has been hosted by Ireland, all but one of these in the capital Dublin, while the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest was staged in Millstreet, a town in north-west County Cork with a population of 1,500 people following Linda Martin's victory in 1992.
Ireland won the Contest for the first time in 1970 with Dana performing "All Kinds of Everything". In total, Ireland has won the Contest seven times, more than any other country, including an unprecedented three consecutive victories in the 1990s (1992, 1993 and 1994 - the most consecutive wins accumulated by a country to date). The decade also saw yet another victory in 1996 and two second place finishes (in 1990, 1997) which gives Ireland the best overall performance by any country in the history of the Contest.
Ireland has competed in the Contest almost continuously since the country's debut in 1965 (absent in 1983 and 2002). In 1983 a strike at the country's national broadcaster RTÉ meant that the station lacked the resources to send a participant so RTÉ broadcast the Contest with the BBC commentary feed. In 2002 Ireland was relegated from the Contest for that year, and in keeping with the EBU rules, RTÉ broadcast that year's event as they intended to return in 2003, and a TV commentator was sent to the host city, Tallinn. RTÉ presenter Marty Whelan has been the national commentator since 2000. It was held in Stockholm in Sweden where Ireland, who were one of the favourites to win, has had its best placing to date since 1997, and phone voting began with Eamonn Toal in a very impressive position, eventually finishing in sixth place, singing 'Millennium of Love' which was written and composed by Raymond J. Smyth and Gerry Simpson.
Ireland has sent 45 entries to the Eurovision Song Contest; of these seven have won and eighteen have finished in the top five. Ireland has been relegated once: in 2001 Gary O'Shaughnessy finished twenty-first with "Without Your Love," which meant Ireland was forced to sit out of the 2002 contest. In addition, six Irish entries have featured in the semi-final of the Contest. In 2005, Donna & Joe finished fourteenth in the pre-qualifier, failing to qualify for the final. In 2006, Brian Kennedy finished ninth in the semi-final, ensuring an Irish presence in the Athens final. Kennedy finished tenth in the final. Ireland also featured in the first semi-final in 2008 and in the second semi-final in 2009, however the representatives failed to qualify for the final in both years.
Ireland's recent results in the Contest have been poor in comparison to the 1990s, coming last in 2007 and 2013. At the Contest in 2007, Ireland's representatives were traditional Irish music group Dervish performing "They Can't Stop The Spring". The group, having automatically qualified for the final, finished last with five points, all from Albania. In 2008, Dustin the Turkey failed to qualify for the final with his song "Irelande Douze Pointe", losing out in the semi-final on May 20. The same fate befell Sinéad Mulvey and Black Daisy in the 2009 semi-final on May 14. In 2011 however, Ireland's luck changed as they sent X Factor finalists Jedward. The duo finished in eighth place, with 119 points, thus making them Ireland's most successful entry in 10 years. Their single Lipstick topped the iTunes charts in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Sweden. Jedward represented Ireland again in 2012 with their song Waterline, but after making it through the first semi-final, were only awarded 46 points, finishing in 19th place.
Seven singers have represented Ireland more than once at the Contest: Johnny Logan (1980, 1987), Linda Martin (1984, 1992), Niamh Kavanagh (1993, 2010), Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg (as "The Swarbriggs" in 1975 and part of "The Swarbriggs Plus Two" in 1977), Maxi (as a soloist in 1973 and as part of Sheeba in 1981) and Jedward in 2011 and 2012.
Eight people have written and composed more than one Irish entry: Brendan Graham (1976, 1985, 1994, 1996), Johnny Logan (1984, 1987, 1992), Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg (1975, 1977), Liam Reilly (1990, 1991), Joe Burkett (composer 1972, lyricist 1981), and Niall Mooney & Jonas Gladnikoff (2009, 2010).
Almost all of Ireland's Eurovision entries prior to 1998 were conducted by Noel Kelehan. The exceptions were 1965 (Gianni Ferrio), 1970 (Dolf van der Linden), from 1972 to 1975 (Colman Pearce), 1979 (Proinnsias Ó Duinn), 1994 (no conductor, although Kelehan conducted other entries) and 1997 (Frank McNamara).
Ireland holds the record for the greatest number of victories: seven wins including three consecutive wins. The country has also achieved second place four times and third once.
Ireland is one of the few countries to have achieved consecutive wins (along with Spain, Luxembourg and Israel) and the only country to win consecutively three times, and the nation won again in 1996, so now four victories were achieved in five years.
Ireland ranks fourth in cumulative points with 18 top 5 placings.
Ireland is the only country to host the Contest consecutively and is one of eight countries never to turn down the chance to host the Eurovision Song Contest.
Out of 47 appearances, Ireland has placed outside the top ten only 14 times (counting only the Finals).
Ireland holds the record for most points from one country in a year in the 'one point per juror' voting system, achieving nine votes out of a possible ten from Belgium.
Ireland has an average of 74 points per contest, the highest average 2 points above the United Kingdom.
- Second place
- Third place
- Last place
- Automatically qualified to the final
- Did not qualify for the final
- Did not compete or was relegated
- NOTE: If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition from 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.
Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest
Ireland was one of two countries to have two entries entered into Congratulations (Eurovision) with Johnny Logan's 1980 "What's Another Year?" and 1987 "Hold Me Now" winning songs. Ireland's 1997 host Ronan Keating appeared. Johnny Logan performed his new single "When a Woman Loved a Man". Irish winners Eimear Quinn, Charlie McGettigan and Linda Martin performed as backing singers to most of the songs with Jakob Sveistrup who represented Denmark in 2005. It was finally revealed after the show the Johnny Logan's "Hold Me Now" was voted the third most favourite song in the first fifty years of Eurovision. Marty Whelan provided commentary of the contest for Ireland on RTÉ.
|Artist||Title||1st Round||Place||2nd Round||Place|
|Johnny Logan||"Hold Me Now"||182||3||262||3|
|Johnny Logan||"What's Another Year?"||74||12||
Ireland benefits from "neighbourly" voting from the United Kingdom. Before the introduction of televoting Irish juries tended to award the United Kingdom more or less the same number of points as other countries did. Since the advent of televoting both countries have given above average points to each other; usually 8 points. In recent years Ireland has also voted for countries where a large diaspora now live in Ireland, such as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. In 2008, before the return of the national juries to lessen the impact of diaspora voting, Ireland gave 8 points to the UK, 10 to Poland and 12 to Latvia.
Statistically, Ireland is the fourteenth best country at predicting a winner, giving an average of 8.41 points to the winning country every year over its 25 appearances since the current voting methods were implemented. Only twice (Turkey in 2003 and Azerbaijan in 2011) did Ireland fail to give any votes to the winning country.
As of 2013, Ireland's voting history is as follows:
Statistically, Ireland is the 11th-best country at predicting the winner of the contest. Out of 31 occasions since the current voting system was adopted in 1975 (and excluding the years in which Ireland itself was the winner, since countries cannot vote for themselves), Ireland has awarded an average of 8.4 points to the winning song. Ireland has given its "12 points" to the winning song 11 times (1979, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1997, 2000, 2012 and 2013). Only twice, in 2003 and 2011, did Ireland fail to award any points to the winning song.
- Winner – Portugal gave 12 points to a winning song.
- Second place – Portugal gave 12 points to a runner-up song.
- Third place – Portugal gave 12 points to a third place song.
- Qualified – Portugal gave 12 points to a song that qualified to the Grand Finals.
- Non-qualified – Portugal gave 12 points to a song that did not qualify to the Grand Finals
|1975||France||1988||Luxembourg||No semi-finals||2001||Denmark||No semi-finals|
|1983||Did not Participate||1996||Sweden||Unknown1||2009||Iceland||Lithuania|
|1984||Sweden||1997||United Kingdom||No semi-finals||2010||Denmark||Lithuania|
1 The voting for the 1996 pre-qualifying round is unknown to date.
Ireland is the only country to have hosted multiple Contests in succession; three in a row between 1993 and 1995. Six of the seven Contests held in Ireland have been held in Dublin; three at the Point Depot, two at the RDS and one at the Gaiety Theatre. In addition, the 1993 Contest was held in Millstreet, County Cork. During the 1994 contest, the dancing group Riverdance made their debut as an interval act.
|1971||Dublin||Gaiety Theatre||Bernadette Ní Ghallchóir|
|1981||RDS Simmonscourt||Doireann Ní Bhriain|
|1988||Michelle Rocca and Pat Kenny|
|1993||Millstreet||Green Glens Arena||Fionnuala Sweeney|
|1994||Dublin||Point Depot||Cynthia Ní Mhurchú and Gerry Ryan|
|1997||Carrie Crowley and Ronan Keating|
Marcel Bezençon Awards
Artistic Award (Voted by commentators)
|Year||Performer||Song||Final Result||Points||Host city|
Commentators and spokespersons
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
Over the years RTÉ commentary has been provided by several experienced radio and television presenters, including Larry Gogan, Jimmy Greeley, Gay Byrne, Ronan Collins, Pat Kenny and Mike Murphy. However Marty Whelan has provided the RTÉ Television commentary since 2000 although Whelan himself had previously commentated for the 1987 event. Ireland did not participate in the 1983 edition in Germany, nor did they send a commentator to Munich that year, but instead broadcast the BBC feed of the contest with Terry Wogan as commentator, who welcomed viewers in Ireland during his introduction. RTE Radio, however, did provide commentary by Brendan Balfe.
- RTÉ:Eurovision. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved on 5 September 2007.
- Millstreet. Cork-Guide.ie. Retrieved on 5 September 2007.
- "Marty and the 'cool' Irish". Irish Independent. 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
- "Ireland dumped out of Eurovision". BBC. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- Diggiloo Thrush - Ireland
- #2 BBC
- Statistics compiled and available here (scroll approximately halfway down the page).