The secret to Ireland's Eurovision success

The Riverdance cast in Dublin city

Ireland has won the Eurovision more than any other country, so what’s the secret to our success?

Music and dance has been integral to our culture for centuries. Ireland is known throughout the world for our traditional music sessions, Riverdance first performed at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 becoming a global phenomenon, and U2 are the biggest rock band on the planet. And did we mention we’ve won the Eurovision 7 times?

When it comes to music and dance, you’ll find all kinds of everything here! These are our top three ways to sing and dance in Ireland…

Trad session in Ireland
Tap your foot to a trad session!

1 Trad sessions

Tunes in the Church is a concert series that runs during summer in Dublin and Galway city. Every concert features top class traditional musicians, singers and sean nós dancing – a captivating, older style of traditional Irish dancing, (before the era of Riverdance!)

In a venue owned and run by the musicians themselves, The Merry Ploughboys have provided traditional Irish entertainment for over 25 years. Visitors can experience the best of Irish music, song and dance – and even try some famous Jigs and Reels.

Another option is to go to O’Donoghue’s where The Dubliners used to play. You’ll find young and old playing together, squeezed into the back bar, almost knee to knee with the audience.

Rock music in Belfast
Go behind the scenes on a musical tour

2 Music tours and museums

Dublin Differently offers private walking tours including the hugely popular U2 Tour of Dublin, a Music Tour of Dublin, and a Cultural Tour of Dublin, taking in the trad pubs and sessions – a match made in heaven.

At The Little Museum of Dublin, U2: Made in Dublin showcases the story of the band and celebrates their roots in the local music scene of the 1970s. To uncover more musical history in Dublin, join the Traditional Irish Musical Pub Crawl led by two professional musicians who perform tunes and songs while telling the story of Irish Music.

Belfast Music Tour is a journey through the heart of this rock and roll city, revealing the music, artists and landscape that have brought character to Belfast. Want to know more about rock in Ireland? The Irish Rock n’ Roll Museum Experience tells the story of the Irish music scene with a tour of a working music venue and recording facilities in Temple Bar, Dublin.

Irish dancing
Home of Riverdance and much more!

3 Festivals and events

The All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil is the biggest gathering of trad musicians in the world. This year the festival takes place in County Clare where you’ll also find Doolin Folk Festival. Folk musicians will descend on Killarney for Ireland Folkfest and in Dublin, Temple Bar TradFest celebrates the full spectrum of trad and folk music in some of the city’s most unique venues.

Festivals in Ireland often combine the very best of music, dance and theatre, such as Galway International Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival and The Belfast Tattoo, the largest musical and dance event in Northern Ireland. For more toe-tapping fun, Riverdance returns to Dublin in summer for a limited run at the Gaiety Theatre – 22 years on from that magical debut at Eurovision.

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