It’s been over 10 years since Ireland last held the Eurovision trophy, but the culture of Irish music and dance is still alive, now more than ever…
With seven wins under its belt, Ireland is the most successful country in the history of Eurovision. Dana was the first to get the honour with All Kinds Of Everything in 1970. She was followed by the King of Eurovision, Johnny Logan, who has won the competition three times: What’s Another Year? in 1981, Hold Me Now in ’87 and Why Me?’ sung by Linda Martin in Sweden in ’92. And we’re back in Sweden again this year hoping Ryan Dolan can bring back the trophy.
The Golden Years
The 90s were of course Ireland’s golden years with three Eurovision wins in a row, followed by a seventh win in Norway in ’96. However our win in 1994 is the most memorable; not for the song but for the interval act who stole the show (and our hearts) that night. The sight of over 100 simultaneously tapping feet was breathtaking and when it finished the audience stood up and cheered elatedly.
There have been many more standing ovations for Riverdance since then. They’ve gone on to play over 10,000 performances and a global audience of two billion people have watched the shows.
And now they’re looking to break more records. If you’ve ever wondered what is must feel like to be part of the Riverdance line-up, here’s your chance to find out. The Gathering are inviting dance enthusiasts and novices alike to Dublin in July to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest ever Riverdance line. Seeing as the current record stands at 652 they’ll need plenty of extra legs!
All Kinds Of Everything
But we’re not all about the legs in Ireland. Music is in our blood, and has been integral to our culture for centuries. We’re known throughout the world for our traditional music sessions (or “trad” as we like to call it) and U2 are the biggest rock band on the planet.
When it comes to music you’ll find all kinds of everything here. Northern Ireland might be small but its artists are responsible for selling over 100 million records combined. Acts from Belfast include Snow Patrol, The Undertones and Van Morrison, and you can hear live music every night of the week in venues across town. Or for those who prefer more classical tones then the Belfast Opera House is not to be missed.
Derry-Londonderry is the UK City of Culture for 2013. Not only is this the first time the title has been held anywhere outside England, but it will also be the first time ever that the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann has taken place in Northern Ireland. That’s a pretty huge honour seeing as the Fleadh music festival is regarded as the Olympics of trad!
There’s a wealth of trad events taking place across the country all year including music festivals, sessions and you can even learn how to play the bodhrán Irish drum if you like. And for you rock ’n’ roll kids, there are festivals dedicated to guitars, The Beatles, and some classic rock nights, too.
So it may have been a long time since our last Eurovision win, but we’ve been keeping busy. And, sure, we just want to let everyone else have a go of the trophy too. After all, it’d only be fair.