With Ireland celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day today, we though here at FemaleFirst that we’d take a look at the world of Irish music. While we’ve had a look at the best Irish bands, no look at Ireland’s musical landscape would be complete without a look at the countries love affair with Eurovision.
While it may be a source of comedy nowadays, the Eurovision for years was actually a great way for the nations of Europe to all get together for a friendly bit of competition to see who could find the best singer. Well, that’s how it was before the years of tactical voting, where victory is merely rotated around the Eastern Block and Scandinavia
Despite only joining the competition nine years after it first began, Ireland have become easily the most successful nation in the competitions long history, winning the contest seven times and coming runner up a further four. This incredible record even including a remarkable three wins in succession in the mid-nineties, a feat that had never been done before or since.
It was in this period when Ireland were a near unstoppable force, racking up four of those wins in five years with a series of ballads that won the hearts of the voting nations. Even when Ireland purposefully tried not to win by selecting a male duo (something that had never won before) to perform a song that wouldn’t set the pulse racing on a tortoise, they won.
Since the turn of the millennium though, Ireland haven’t had the same romance with the contest. The nation has failed to qualify for the final three times over the last decade and have been forced to use the weaponised musical death machine that is Jedward for the last two assaults. Horibly enough, they’ve actually been the best performing acts the country’s had since the year 2000.
While the affair has cooled in recent years, as it has with many Western European countries over the last decade, Ireland will always have a special relationship with the Eurovision Song Contest.