Record holders
Inauspicious debut
Dana
A true European
Johnny Logan
'Hold Me Now'
A talented man
The golden 1990s
Four winners
Linda Martin
Irish pop queen
Niamh Kavanagh
Another appearance in 2010
Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan
Rock and roll men
Eimear Quinn
Voice of an angel
From heroes to zeroes
A real turkey
Jedward
A new hope
Brooke Scullion
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Record holders

Call it the luck of the Irish, but whatever the reason, Ireland has won Eurovision a record seven times. Sweden is a close second with six wins in their history. The UK, Luxembourg, France, and the Netherlands are tied in third with five wins each.

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Inauspicious debut

Ireland first entered the competition in 1965, and its entry 'Walking the Streets in the Rain' could only finish sixth in the rankings, despite being a powerful ballad that was sung by the charming Butch Moore.

In 1970, however, Ireland got its first win on the board.

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Dana

Before becoming a politician, Dana was a softly spoken singer, and her song 'All Kinds of Everything' was Ireland's first Eurovision winner.

At the tender age of 18, and in front of an audience of two hundred million, she beat the likes of Julio Iglesias to the top spot.

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A true European

Dana's music career after Eurovision was eclectic. In the 1970s, she had both hits and misses, and in the 1980s, she recorded a song for the Northern Irish football team before the 1982 World Cup, starred on the West End, and tried to crack the Christian music market in America. As a politician, she was a Member of the European Parliament for five years. She lost her seat in 2004.

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Johnny Logan

In Ireland, Johnny Logan is a legend, and he is perhaps the country's most iconic Eurovision winner, as evidenced by his appearance in TV adverts for McDonald's.

He's a record holder to boot, with two wins to his name. His first came in 1980 with 'What's Another Year?'

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'Hold Me Now'

His first Eurovision win did not launch his pop singing career. Despite these setbacks, he wrote Ireland's winning entry for the 1987 Eurovision Song Contest, 'Hold Me Now'. With this second victory, he was finally able to kickstart his career in pop music.

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A talented man

'Hold Me Now' is the unofficial anthem of Dublin's Bohemians FC, and Logan is still a big name in Scandinavia. He has threaded the boards in a couple of successful rock operas, with 'Excalibur' being the most famous of the two operas. He also penned Ireland's Eurovision entry in 1984. Linda Martin sang 'Terminal 3', and it finished a respectable second.

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The golden 1990s

After years of poverty and emigration, Ireland rediscovered its confidence in the 1990s, the decade that brought the economic uptick that was the Celtic Tiger. Another symbol of a newly proud Ireland was Riverdance, which debuted to rapturous acclaim at the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, which was hosted in Dublin.

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Four winners

Ireland won Eurovision four times (three consecutively) in this decade, which also meant that, as winners, Ireland hosted it four times as well. Irish dominance of the competition entered popular culture, and the hit comedy 'Fr. Ted' even joked that the country would deliberately lose the Eurovision Song Contest because it was becoming too expensive to host.

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Linda Martin

In 1992, Linda Martin asked 'Why Me?' and won the Eurovision Song Contest. Written by Johnny Logan, the song was a massive hit around Europe.

At the interval of the 2013 Eurovision show, host Petra Mede controversially joked that Linda Martin was actually Johnny Logan in drag. The Irish media were not pleased, but Martin subsequently said that she benefitted from the publicity.

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Irish pop queen

In her later years, she became the host of numerous talent shows, and she acted in musicals and pantomimes. She famously fell out with longtime friend Twink, another Irish celebrity, while touring 'Menopause the Musical'.

 

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Niamh Kavanagh

'In Your Eyes' brought the house down in Cork, where the 1993 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was being held. Many Irish fans of the competition consider her to be the best vocalist in the history of the competition, and she won on the night in a nail-biting finish. She was neck-and-neck with the UK entry for most of the voting.

The song subsequently went double platinum.

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Another appearance in 2010

Her reappearance in 2010 for that year's Eurovision was a mixed bag. She was enthusiastically supported by the public and media alike, and she made it all the way to the final. However, she ultimately finished third last.

 

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Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan

The trilogy was completed in 1994 when Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan sang 'Rock 'N' Roll Kids' and won the top prize.

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Rock and roll men

As can be seen from this picture of the duo performing on RTÉ's The Late Late Show, age has not dimmed their love of singing. Arguably, Paul Harrington is the more famous of the two, and he made a name for himself in Dublin's notorious Lillie's Bordello, where he sang for the likes of the Rolling Stones in the VIP room.

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Eimear Quinn

In 1996, Eimear Quinn ensured that Ireland won the contest four times in five years. No other country has ever matched this feat. Her song 'The Voice' is Celtic balladry at its finest.

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Voice of an angel

She has also performed for Queen Elizabeth II, who visited Ireland on a historic visit in 2011. In 2014, she performed for President Michael D. Higgins at the Royal Albert Hall, and in 2019, she sang for Pope Francis.

 

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From heroes to zeroes

The last twenty years have not been kind to Ireland's Eurovision hopefuls. A rotating cast of minor Irish celebrities and unknowns have repeatedly given it their best, but the results have been mediocre. Nevertheless, Ireland has only missed appearing in Eurovision on two occasions, which is a decent record.

Irish pop bands with the most success in the world.

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A real turkey

In 2008, in a grim acceptance of inevitable failure, the country sent a puppet - a turkey called Dustin, famous from kid's TV - to the semi-finals. Ironically singing 'Douze Pointe', Dustin failed to qualify for the final. When he was announced as Ireland's entry on live Irish TV, off the back of a public vote, there were audible gasps and boos from the studio audience.

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Jedward

Every Irish person is familiar with the bouncing enthusiasm and coiffured hair of Jedward, the twins who first made their name on X-Factor. Easy to mock - in fact, Johnny Logan has criticised them publicly - their 2011 Eurovision entry finished a creditable eighth. The resulting single charted well in Ireland and across Asia, where it appeared in a Hyundai advert. Since then, they have performed for Barack Obama and starred in pantomimes.

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A new hope

Brooke Scullion will represent Ireland in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Turin. She released her first single, 'Attention', in 2020, and she finished third in the ninth season of The Voice UK.

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Brooke Scullion

The Derry native, who is following in Dana's footsteps, will perform tenth in Semi-Final 2 with her song 'That's Rich'. The entry captures the spirit of modern pop, and it is a strong entry. Hopefully, she can bring back Ireland's eighth Eurovision title.

Good luck, Brooke!

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