As a nation we have a love/hate relationship with the Eurovision; we hold the record for the most wins, but have had a disastrous run of late and have failed to qualify since 2013. Here's a look back at our colourful history in the song contest.


There have been many great Irish Eurovision moments over the course of the competition, but of course the highlights have to be the seven times we took home glory. It's been 47 years since we first won and 21 years since our last success so here's a look back at those glittering moments.

  • 1970 Dana – All Kinds of Everything

Our very first Eurovision win came at the hands of young Dana and her performance of All Kinds Of Everything. Dana was the 12th and final performer in Amsterdam that night (yes you read that right, there was only 12 entries) and she earned an astounding 32 points.

Her angelic and understated performance even beat some fella called Julio Iglesias, who came 4th.

  • 1980/87 Johnny Logan – What's Another Year/Hold Me Now

Our second win came at the hands of the most successful person in Eurovision history, the one and only Johnny Logan. This would be Johnny's first win of three (including writing 1992's winner, Why Me?, for Linda Martin) making him into a Eurovision god in the process.

While the song was written by Shay Healy, it was rearranged to suit Johnny's singing style by Bill Whelan, the man that would go on to compose Riverdance, so What's Another Year is a sort of coming together of Eurovision genii. And then there was that white suit (now in the ABBA musuem in Stockholm no less)

Logan took his second title in 1987 with Hold Me Now, a song that's as well known now as the National Anthem. It was recently voted the third best Eurovision song of all time, behind ABBA's Waterloo and Domenico Mudugno's Volare.

  • 1993 Niamh Kavanagh – In Your Eyes

Our first win on home ground after Linda Martin's win the year before, Niamh Kavanagh's In Your Eyes became became not just a Eurovision sensation, but a chart sensation too, going on to become the highest-selling single in Ireland that year.

Not only did Niamh's win continue a lucky winning streak for Ireland in the 90s but it was all the more sweet as it took place in Millstreet, Co. Cork, the first time the song contest was staged outside a major urban centre. It was the best riposte to lots of sneering comments including that of one BBC correspondent who claimed that the Eurovision was being held "in a cowshed in Ireland."

  • 1996 Eimear Quinn – The Voice

Given our incredible record in the Eurovision, it's kind of sad to think that this is the last time we came out victorious. Yes, it really has been twenty one years!! After Rock n Roll Kids won in 1994, Eimear Quinn's The Voice marked our seventh win and the song, her voice, the white dress, everything about it was just perfect.

This was also our fourth win in five years - really how could we have kept up that kind of momentum? Also a new thing called televoting was about to change Eurovision forever

  • 2011 Jedward - Lipstick

Who'd have thunk it? Yes the Lucan twins became our unlikely saviours in Eurovision bringing us to our best place in the contest in over a decade with a very respectable eighth place finish in the final.

Jedmania swept Eurovision thanks to their infectious enthusiasm, clever staging and earm-worm of a tune. Lady luck wasn't as kind when the returned the following year with Waterline, with the lads finishing down in nineteenth place.


The way our Eurovision story has been going lately, sometimes we're just glad to qualify which is a sad state of affairs. At least these next entries made it to the main stage...even if it was to take home the wooden spoon on two of the occasions.

  • 2007 Dervish – They Can't Stop the Spring

The glory days of the Eurovision were well and truly behind us after the 2007 contest, and our very first last place position when we managed only four votes (all thanks to our friends in er, Albania).

Going very Oirish with proceedings, the song failed to inspire interest, and it's really no surprise when you re-watch it. The song was written by journalist John Waters (seriously!) though it does explain lyrics about "archipelagic icicles" and the like. 

  • 2013 Ryan Dolan – Only Love Survives

This was the last time we actually performed at a Eurovision final and poor Ryan Dolan's efforts saw him come Paddy last.

There's no doubt he can sing, but the staging made a vain attempt to replicate the increasingly madcap stage shows that had become synonymous with modern Eurovision with oiled up topless bodhrán players and more drums than the Twelfth of July. Europe looked as bored as Ryan did and failed to pick up the phone.

  • 1978 Colm C.T. Wilkinson - Born to Sing

Now let's be clear about this - it's a good song and Ireland came in a respectable fifth that year. But anyone who has watched this performance cannot unsee it - ever again!! 

Wilkinson dressed as Ausin Powers, sings the song like his life depends on it. Rumours abounded that he was sown into the velvet suit which might explain some of the intensity. Either way it didn't harm his career and he went on to enjoy enormous success with Les Miserables and other productions.


Ugly is such an strong word but there are a few moments that stand out as being more than just a tad cringeworthy.

  • 2005 Donna and Joe – Love?

Donna and Joe are brother and sister. They performed on stage singing about love, which is just a bit strange if we're being honest. Throw into the mix some dodgy dance moves, awful coordinating outfits and an Irish-dancing breakdown, and it becomes a hilarious mess that feels never-ending.

If you don't believe us, just watch the whole thing here again and relive how awkward the whole affair is...

  • 2008 Dustin the Turkey – Irelande Douze Pointe

A national treasure, yes. A Eurovision hopeful, no. Dustin is as Irish as they come but his brand of humour didn't translate to the rest of the world, and is that actually surprising?

Who thought this was a good idea? It screams desperation and it's really no shock that it didn't qualify. I challenge you to sit through the entire thing......Needless to say we've never really been forgiven.

  • 2014 Can-Linn (featuring Casey Smith) - Hearbeat

You'd think we might have learnt a few lessons from the year before, but no.

Once again, the Celtic motifs were tossed around like snuff at a wake and the staging truly beggared belief. There were two lads leppin' about in kilts for no apparent reason, Casey looked like someone about to be sacrificed on Game of Thrones and don't get us started on that gúna. To make matters worse. vocally the whole thing fell flat, so it was no surprise we failed to qualify for the final.