Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
|National selection events|
|Appearances||51 (44 finals)|
|Best result||1st: 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996|
|Worst result||Last: 2007, 2013|
|Ireland's page at Eurovision.tv|
| For the most recent participation see
Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018
Ireland has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 51 times since making its debut at the 1965 Contest in Naples. Since then, they have missed only two contests, in 1983 in Munich and 2002 in Tallinn. Ireland is the most successful country in the contest, with a total of seven wins. Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) is Ireland's representative broadcaster at the contest, the semi-finals are broadcast on RTÉ2 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. Ireland have hosted the contest on seven occasions, 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.
Seán Dunphy finished second at the 1967 contest, behind Sandie Shaw, before Dana gave Ireland its first victory in 1970, performing "All Kinds of Everything". The country's next best result of the 1970s was in 1977, when The Swarbriggs plus two finished third. Johnny Logan gave Ireland a second victory in 1980, with "What's Another Year". Logan then wrote the 1984 entry "Terminal 3", which finished second, performed by Linda Martin. In 1987, Logan became the first and (as of the present day) only performer to win the contest twice, when he won with the self-penned "Hold Me Now". Ireland's most successful decade to date in the contest is the 1990s, which began with Liam Reilly finishing joint second in 1990. Ireland then achieved an unequalled three consecutive victories in the contest. In 1992, 1984 runner-up Linda Martin returned to win with another Johnny Logan composition, "Why Me?". This was followed up by Niamh Kavanagh's victory over Sonia in 1993 with "In Your Eyes" and Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan winning in 1994 with "Rock 'n' Roll Kids". The decade saw yet another victory in 1996 when Eimear Quinn won with "The Voice". Ireland also finished second in 1997 with Marc Roberts.
In the 21st century, Ireland has fared less well, only reaching the top 10 on three occasions, with Eamonn Toal sixth in 2000, Brian Kennedy tenth in 2006 and Jedward eighth in 2011. Ireland finished last in the final for the first time in 2007, which happened again in 2013. Since the introduction of the semi-final round in 2004, Ireland has failed to reach the final seven times, in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
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. 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.
Ireland has sent 50 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,". 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).
In the years when the live orchestra was present in the contest, almost all of Ireland's Eurovision entries were conducted by Noel Kelehan. The exceptions were 1965 (Italian host conductor Gianni Ferrio), 1970 (Dutch host conductor Dolf van der Linden), from 1972 to 1975 (Colman Pearce), 1979 (Proinnsias Ó Duinn), 1994 (no conductor, although Kelehan conducted three other entries from Romania, Greece and Poland) and in 1997 (Frank McNamara) was the musical director for the contest staged in Dublin, but the Irish entry was played with a backing track with no orchestra.
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, meaning four victories were achieved in five years.
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 51 appearances and 44 finals, Ireland has reached the top ten 31 times and the top five 18 times. As of 2017, Ireland has not reached the top five since 1997.
Ireland holds the record for most points from one country in a year (alongside France) in the 'one point per juror' voting system, achieving nine votes out of a possible ten from Belgium (in 1970). France had achieved this same feat in 1958.
Ireland has an average of 74 points per contest, the highest average two points above the United Kingdom.
During the first semi-final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, it was revealed that the duo, Jedward, hold two Eurovision records: the highest hair (18.9 cm) and the biggest shoulder pads.
- Table key
- 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.
- Table key
|Year||Artist||Language||Title||Final||Points||Semi||Points||Place (1980 & 1987)||Points (1980 & 1987)|
|1980||Johnny Logan||English||"What's Another Year?"||Failed to qualify||12||74||1||143|
|1987||Johnny Logan||English||"Hold Me Now"||3||262||3||182||1||172|
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 given fewer votes to the United Kingdom; Ireland hasn't awarded the UK 12 points since the UK's latest victory in 1997. 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. In 2014, in both the second semi-final and final, the televoting results of Ireland ranked Poland first and Lithuania second.
Statistically, Ireland is the 11th-best country at predicting the winner of the contest. Out of 32 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 8.5 points to the winning song. Ireland has given its "12 points" to the winning song 12 times (1979, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1997, 2000, 2012, 2013 and 2014). Only twice, in 2003 and 2011, did Ireland fail to award any points to the winning song.
As of 2017, Ireland's voting history is as follows:
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 Theatre, 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 Theatre||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
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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. RTÉ Radio, however, did provide commentary by Brendan Balfe.
All conductors are Irish except those with a flag.
- Gianni Ferrio (1965)
- Noel Kelehan (1966–69, 1971, 1976–78, 1980–82, 1984–1993, 1995–96, 1998) (musical director in 1981, 1988, 1993–95)
- Dolf van der Linden (1970)
- Colman Pearce (1972–75) (also musical director in 1971)
- Proinnsías Ó Duinn (1979)
- Frank McNamara (musical director in 1997, but did not conduct any entry)
The Irish entry was performed without orchestral accompaniment in 1994 and 1997.
- Ireland in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest – Junior version of the Eurovision Song Contest.
- Ireland in the Eurovision Dance Contest – Dance version of the Eurovision Song Contest.
- Ireland in the Eurovision Young Dancers – A competition organised by the EBU for younger dancers aged between 16 and 21.
- Ireland in the Eurovision Young Musicians – A competition organised by the EBU for musicians aged 18 years and younger.
- RTÉ:Eurovision. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved on 5 September 2007.
- Millstreet. Cork-Guide.ie. Retrieved on 5 September 2007.
- "Ireland dumped out of Eurovision". BBC. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- Diggiloo Thrush - Ireland
- #2 BBC
- "Marty and the 'cool' Irish". Irish Independent. 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2008-11-22.