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 in Denmark again this year hoping Can-linn Feat. Kasey Smith 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.
On a clear July day in 2013, by the banks of Dublin’s river Liffey, the troupe set their sights on breaking a record. But not just any record: the record for the longest Riverdance line in the world.
Did they break it? They, and over 2000 dancer, sure did. Here’s the video evidence.
All Kinds Of Everything
But we’re not just 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 (real fans will love the hidden U2 room in the Little Museum of Dublin).
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 or made in 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, Belfast's Grand Opera House is not to be missed.
Culture, trad and a rock legend
Speaking of not to be missed, Limerick city is currently basking in the arty glow that comes with being a City of Culture. Ireland’s first, in fact. We’d need a year and a day to tell you all the wonderful musical mayhem that’s going on there, but suffice to say, it’s good.
If your tastes veer towards the more traditional, there’s a wealth of trad events taking place across the country all year including music festivals and sessions. You can even learn how to play the bodhrán (a hand-held Irish drum) if you like. And for you rock ’n’ roll kids, an Irish rock legend will be celebrated at the eponymous Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival (Donegal, May-June) while Electric Picnic (Laois, August) is arguably one of Europe's most chilled and most adored music festivals.
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’s only fair.
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