Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1981

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Eurovision Song Contest 1981
Country  Ireland
National selection
Selection process National final - Regional juries
Selection date(s) 1 March 1981
Selected entrant Sheeba
Selected song "Horoscopes"
Finals performance
Final result 5th, 105 points
Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
◄1980 1981 1982►

The National Song Contest 1981 was staged on the first of March at RTÉ Studios in Dublin. The show was Presented by popular Irish host, Mike Murphy. Eight finalists took part, with female trio Sheeba winning the Contest with the song "Horoscopes", written by Joe Kelly and Jim Burkett.[1]


Sheeba had previously appeared at the National finals in 1978, while member Maxi had performed for Ireland at the 1973 Eurovision finals. They were one of two female trios in the Contest - the other being The Duskey Sisters. Male/female groups were represented by opening act Tara and closing act Karen Black and The Nevada - the latter being a famous recording act in Ireland at the time under the line up of Roy Taylor, Karen Black and The Nevada. Their song "My Pet Parrot" was largely a novelty song (featuring a man dressed as a Parrot playing trombone (whom Black later claimed was drunk during the performance!)) and became heavily played on Irish radio. Tony Kenny was also a famous artist in Ireland at the time and had released many hit singles, as well as performing a number of times in the National finals. Nicola Kerr was known at the time for being a member of the current line-up of UK pop group (and former Eurovision entrants) The New Seekers. The remaining two contestants were also solo females, Helen Jordan and Sylvia McFadden (who received 'nul points' with her own composition).

The show's result was a surprise as "My Pet Parrot" had been touted as the favourite to win before the Contest. The Contest closed with all the Contestants performing Barry Manilow's "I Write The Songs" on stage as the credits rolled.

Draw Song Performer Points Rank
1 "Not Tonight Josephine" Tara 1 7th
2 "The One in My Life" Nicola Kerr 14 =5th
3 "Horoscopes" Sheeba 21 1st
4 "Can't Be Without You" Tony Kenny 16 =3rd
5 "Share My Love" Helen Jordan 14 =5th
6 "Where Does That Love Come From" The Duskey Sisters 16 =3rd
7 "Don't Walk Away" Sylvia McFadden 0 8th
8 "My Pet Parrot" Karen Black and The Nevada 18 2nd
Jury Votes
Song A B C D E F G H I J Total
Not Tonight Josephine 1 1
The One in My Life 1 5 1 1 2 1 3 14
Horoscopes 1 1 4 1 3 2 1 2 5 1 21
Can't Be Without You 1 3 3 2 2 3 2 16
Share My Love 4 1 1 6 2 14
Where Does That Love Come From 5 1 1 3 2 2 2 16
Don't Walk Away 0
My Pet Parrot 1 2 5 2 1 7 18

A = Ballina, B = Enniscorthy, C = Monaghan, D = Cork, E = Ballyshannon, F = Dublin, G = Mullingar, H = Galway, I = Nenagh, J = Killarney

Killarney was due to announce their votes after Dublin, but due to connection problems, they had to announce their votes last.

Sheeba would also take part in the 1982 National Song Contest, where they came 7th. Two other artists competing this year entered also: Tony Kenny, who came 6th and The Duskey Sisters (as The Duskeys) who won.

Eurovision final[edit]

The Eurovision final in 1981 was held at the RDS in Dublin, Ireland. It was presented by Doireann Ní Bhriain. Sheeba were the 12th act to perform.

Points Awarded to Ireland
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point

Points awarded by Ireland[edit]

12 points   Switzerland
10 points  United Kingdom
8 points  Cyprus
7 points  Israel
6 points  Germany
5 points  Finland
4 points  France
3 points  Spain
2 points  Yugoslavia
1 point  Greece

Sheeba finished fifth in the Eurovision Song Contest final on April 4. They received two maximums of 12 points during the voting. The overall winner was United Kingdom.

The song "Horoscopes" became a No. 3 hit in the Irish charts.[2]


  1. ^ "National Song Contest 1981". GeoCities. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2016-01-25. 
  2. ^ Irish Charts. "Sheeba - "Horoscopes", Irish chart position". Retrieved 18 July 2008.