Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest


Member station RTÉ
National selection events
Appearances 50 (44 finals)
First appearance 1965
Best result 1st: 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996
Worst result Last: 2007, 2013
External links
RTÉ page
Ireland's page at
For the most recent participation see
Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016

Ireland has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 50 times since making its debut at the 1965 Contest in Naples. Since then, they have missed only two contests, in 1983 in Munich and 2002 in Tallinn. Ireland is the most successful country in the contest, with a total of seven wins. Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) is Ireland's representative broadcaster at the contest, the semi-finals are broadcast on RTÉ Two and the final on RTÉ One.[1] All of the Irish entries have been performed in English with the exception of the 1972 entry, "Ceol an Ghrá", which was sung in Irish. Ireland have hosted the contest on seven occasions, all but one of these in the capital Dublin, while the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest was staged in Millstreet, a town in north-west County Cork with a population of 1,500 people.[2]

Sean Dunphy finished second at the 1967 contest, behind Sandie Shaw, before Dana gave Ireland its first victory in 1970, performing "All Kinds of Everything". The country's next best result of the 1970s was in 1977, when The Swarbriggs plus two finished third. Johnny Logan gave Ireland a second victory in 1980, with "What's Another Year". Logan then wrote the 1984 entry "Terminal 3", which finished second, performed by Linda Martin. In 1987, Logan became the first and (as of the present day) only performer to win the contest twice, when he won with the self-penned "Hold Me Now". Ireland's most successful decade to date in the contest is the 1990s, which began with Liam Reilly finishing joint second in 1990. Ireland then achieved an unequalled three consecutive victories in the contest. In 1992, 1984 runner-up Linda Martin returned to win with another Johnny Logan composition, "Why Me?". This was followed up by Niamh Kavanagh's victory over Sonia in 1993 with "In Your Eyes" and Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan winning in 1994 with "Rock 'n' Roll Kids". The decade saw yet another victory in 1996 when Eimear Quinn won with "The Voice". Ireland also finished second in 1997 with Marc Roberts.

In the 21st century, Ireland has fared less well, only reaching the top 10 on three occasions, with Eamonn Toal sixth in 2000, Brian Kennedy tenth in 2006 and Jedward eighth in 2011. Ireland finished last in the final for the first time in 2007, which happened again in 2013. Since the introduction of the semi-final round in 2004, Ireland has failed to reach the final six times, in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 2016 marked the first time that Ireland failed to qualify in three consecutive years.


Johnny Logan, who won the contest for Ireland twice as a solo singer, in 1980 and 1987 and composed the winning entry of the 1992 contest

Ireland has competed in the Contest almost continuously since the country's debut in 1965 (absent in 1983 and 2002). In 1983 a strike at the country's national broadcaster RTÉ meant that the station lacked the resources to send a participant so RTÉ broadcast the Contest with the BBC commentary feed. In 2002 Ireland was relegated from the Contest. In keeping with the EBU rules, RTÉ broadcast that year's event as they intended to return in 2003, and a TV commentator was sent to the host city, Tallinn.

Ireland has sent 50 entries to the Eurovision Song Contest; of these seven have won and eighteen have finished in the top five. Ireland has been relegated once: in 2001 Gary O'Shaughnessy finished twenty-first with "Without Your Love,". In addition, six Irish entries have featured in the semi-final of the Contest. In 2005, Donna & Joe finished fourteenth in the pre-qualifier, failing to qualify for the final. In 2006, Brian Kennedy finished ninth in the semi-final, ensuring an Irish presence in the Athens final. Kennedy finished tenth in the final. Ireland also featured in the first semi-final in 2008 and in the second semi-final in 2009, however the representatives failed to qualify for the final in both years.

Ireland's recent results in the Contest have been poor in comparison to the 1990s, coming last in 2007 and 2013. At the Contest in 2007, Ireland's representatives were traditional Irish music group Dervish performing "They Can't Stop The Spring". The group, having automatically qualified for the final, finished last with five points, all from Albania. In 2008, Dustin the Turkey failed to qualify for the final with his song "Irelande Douze Pointe", losing out in the semi-final on May 20. The same fate befell Sinéad Mulvey and Black Daisy in the 2009 semi-final on May 14.[3] In 2011 however, Ireland's luck changed as they sent X Factor finalists Jedward. The duo finished in eighth place, with 119 points, thus making them Ireland's most successful entry in 10 years. Their single Lipstick topped the iTunes charts in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Sweden. Jedward represented Ireland again in 2012 with their song Waterline, but after making it through the first semi-final, were only awarded 46 points, finishing in 19th place.

Seven singers have represented Ireland more than once at the Contest: Johnny Logan (1980, 1987), Linda Martin (1984, 1992), Niamh Kavanagh (1993, 2010), Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg (as "The Swarbriggs" in 1975 and part of "The Swarbriggs Plus Two" in 1977), Maxi (as a soloist in 1973 and as part of Sheeba in 1981) and Jedward in 2011 and 2012.

Eight people have written and composed more than one Irish entry: Brendan Graham (1976, 1985, 1994, 1996), Johnny Logan (1984, 1987, 1992), Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg (1975, 1977), Liam Reilly (1990, 1991), Joe Burkett (composer 1972, lyricist 1981), and Niall Mooney & Jonas Gladnikoff (2009, 2010).[4]

Almost all of Ireland's Eurovision entries prior to 1999 were conducted by Noel Kelehan. The exceptions were 1965 (Gianni Ferrio), 1970 (Dolf van der Linden), from 1972 to 1975 (Colman Pearce), 1979 (Proinnsias Ó Duinn), 1994 (no conductor, although Kelehan conducted other entries) and in 1997 (Frank McNamara) was the musical director for the contest staged in Dublin, but the Irish entry was played with a backing track with no orchestra.

Ronan Keating (who also presented the 1997 contest) had collaborated on the 2009 entry for Denmark.[5]

RTÉ presenter Marty Whelan has been the national commentator since 2000.[6]


Ireland holds the record for the greatest number of victories: seven wins including three consecutive wins. The country has also achieved second place four times and third once.

Ireland is one of the few countries to have achieved consecutive wins (along with Spain, Luxembourg and Israel) and the only country to win consecutively three times, and the nation won again in 1996, meaning four victories were achieved in five years.

Ireland is the only country to host the Contest consecutively and is one of eight countries never to turn down the chance to host the Eurovision Song Contest.

Out of 50 appearances and 44 finals, Ireland has reached the top ten 31 times and the top five 18 times. As of 2016, Ireland has not reached the top five since 1997.

Ireland holds the record for most points from one country in a year (alongside France) in the 'one point per juror' voting system, achieving nine votes out of a possible ten from Belgium (in 1970). France had achieved this same feat in 1958.

Ireland has an average of 74 points per contest, the highest average two points above the United Kingdom.

During the first semi-final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, it was revealed that the duo, Jedward, hold two Eurovision records: the highest hair (18.9 cm) and the biggest shoulder pads.


Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points
1965 Butch Moore English "Walking the Streets in the Rain" 6 11 No semi-finals
1966 Dickie Rock English "Come Back to Stay" 4 14
1967 Sean Dunphy English "If I Could Choose" 2 22
1968 Pat McGeegan English "Chance of a Lifetime" 4 18
1969 Muriel Day English "The Wages of Love" 7 10
1970 Dana English "All Kinds of Everything" 1 32
1971 Angela Farrell English "One Day Love" 11 79
1972 Sandie Jones Irish "Ceol an Ghrá" 15 72
1973 Maxi English "Do I Dream" 10 80
1974 Tina Reynolds English "Cross Your Heart" 7 11
1975 The Swarbriggs English "That's What Friends Are For" 9 68
1976 Red Hurley English "When" 10 54
1977 The Swarbriggs Plus Two English "It's Nice To Be In Love Again" 3 119
1978 Colm C.T. Wilkinson English "Born to Sing" 5 86
1979 Cathal Dunne English "Happy Man" 5 80
1980 Johnny Logan English "What's Another Year?" 1 143
1981 Sheeba English "Horoscopes" 5 105
1982 The Duskeys English "Here Today Gone Tomorrow" 11 49
1983 Did not participate
1984 Linda Martin English "Terminal 3" 2 137
1985 Maria Christian English "Wait Until the Weekend Comes" 6 91
1986 Luv Bug English "You Can Count On Me" 4 96
1987 Johnny Logan English "Hold Me Now" 1 172
1988 Jump the Gun English "Take Him Home" 8 79
1989 Kiev Connolly & The Missing Passengers English "The Real Me" 18 21
1990 Liam Reilly English "Somewhere in Europe" 2 132
1991 Kim Jackson English "Could It Be That I'm In Love" 10 47
1992 Linda Martin English "Why Me?" 1 155
1993 Niamh Kavanagh English "In Your Eyes" 1 187 Host country
1994 Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan English "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" 1 226 No semi-finals
1995 Eddie Friel English "Dreamin'" 14 44
1996 Eimear Quinn English "The Voice" 1 162 2 198
1997 Marc Roberts English "Mysterious Woman" 2 157 No semi-finals
1998 Dawn Martin English "Is Always Over Now?" 9 64
1999 The Mullans English "When You Need Me" 17 18
2000 Eamonn Toal English "Millennium of Love" 6 92
2001 Gary O'Shaughnessy English "Without Your Love" 21 6
2002 Did not participate
2003 Mickey Harte English "We've Got the World" 11 53
2004 Chris Doran English "If My World Stopped Turning" 23 7 Top 11 Previous Year
2005 Donna and Joe English "Love?" Failed to qualify 14 53
2006 Brian Kennedy English "Every Song Is a Cry for Love" 10 93 9 76
2007 Dervish English "They Can't Stop the Spring" 24 5 Top 10 Previous Year
2008 Dustin the Turkey English "Irelande Douze Pointe" Failed to qualify 15 22
2009 Sinéad Mulvey & Black Daisy English "Et Cetera" 11 52
2010 Niamh Kavanagh English "It's for You" 23 25 9 67
2011 Jedward English "Lipstick" 8 119 8 68
2012 Jedward English "Waterline" 19 46 6 92
2013 Ryan Dolan English "Only Love Survives" 26 5 8 54
2014 Can-Linn feat. Kasey Smith English "Heartbeat" Failed to qualify 12 35
2015 Molly Sterling English "Playing with Numbers" 12 35
2016 Nicky Byrne English "Sunlight" 15 46

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest

Ireland was one of two countries to have two entries entered into Congratulations (Eurovision) with Johnny Logan's 1980 "What's Another Year?" and 1987 "Hold Me Now" winning songs. Ireland's 1997 host Ronan Keating appeared. Johnny Logan performed his new single "When a Woman Loved a Man". Irish winners Eimear Quinn, Charlie McGettigan and Linda Martin performed as backing singers to most of the songs with Jakob Sveistrup who represented Denmark in 2005. It was finally revealed after the show the Johnny Logan's "Hold Me Now" was voted the third most favourite song in the first fifty years of Eurovision. Marty Whelan provided commentary of the contest for Ireland on RTÉ.

Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points Place (1980 & 1987) Points (1980 & 1987)
1980 Johnny Logan English "What's Another Year?" Failed to qualify 12 74 1 143
1987 Johnny Logan English "Hold Me Now" 3 262 3 182 1 172

Voting history

Ireland benefits from "neighbourly" voting from the United Kingdom. Before the introduction of televoting Irish juries tended to award the United Kingdom more or less the same number of points as other countries did. Since the advent of televoting both countries have given above average points to each other; usually 8 points. In recent years Ireland has also voted for countries where a large diaspora now live in Ireland, such as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. In 2008, before the return of the national juries to lessen the impact of diaspora voting, Ireland gave 8 points to the UK, 10 to Poland and 12 to Latvia. In 2015, in both the second semi-final and final, the televoting results of Ireland ranked Latvia third, Poland second and Lithuania first.

Statistically, Ireland is the 11th-best country at predicting the winner of the contest. Out of 32 occasions since the current voting system was adopted in 1975 (and excluding the years in which Ireland itself was the winner, since countries cannot vote for themselves), Ireland has awarded an average of 8.5 points to the winning song. Ireland has given its "12 points" to the winning song 12 times (1979, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1997, 2000, 2012, 2013 and 2014). Only twice, in 2003 and 2011, did Ireland fail to award any points to the winning song.

As of 2016, Ireland's voting history is as follows:

Most points given in the grand finals only
Rank Country Points
1  United Kingdom 235
2  Sweden 175
3  France 151
4  Germany 147
5  Norway 144
Most points received in the grand finals only
Rank Country Points
1  United Kingdom 240
2  Sweden 223
3   Switzerland 176
4  Norway 169
5  Austria 164

Most points given in the semis and finals
Rank Country Points
1  United Kingdom 235
2  Sweden 206
3  Denmark 187
4  Norway 182
5  Netherlands 152
Most points received in the semis and finals
Rank Country Points
1  United Kingdom 298
2  Sweden 240
3  Norway 194
4   Switzerland 193
5  Belgium 187


Ireland is the only country to have hosted multiple Contests in succession; three in a row between 1993 and 1995. Six of the seven Contests held in Ireland have been held in Dublin; three at the Point Theatre, two at the RDS and one at the Gaiety Theatre. In addition, the 1993 Contest was held in Millstreet, County Cork. During the 1994 contest, the dancing group Riverdance made their debut as an interval act.

Year Location Venue Presenters
1971 Dublin Gaiety Theatre Bernadette Ní Ghallchóir
1981 RDS Simmonscourt Doireann Ní Bhriain
1988 Michelle Rocca and Pat Kenny
1993 Millstreet Green Glens Arena Fionnuala Sweeney
1994 Dublin Point Theatre Cynthia Ní Mhurchú and Gerry Ryan
1995 Mary Kennedy
1997 Carrie Crowley and Ronan Keating

Marcel Bezençon Awards

Further information: Marcel Bezençon Awards

Artistic Award (Voted by commentators)

Year Performer Song Final Result Points Host city
2011 Jedward "Lipstick" 8th 119 Düsseldorf

Commentators and spokespersons

Over the years RTÉ commentary has been provided by several experienced radio and television presenters, including Larry Gogan, Jimmy Greeley, Gay Byrne, Ronan Collins, Pat Kenny and Mike Murphy. However Marty Whelan has provided the RTÉ Television commentary since 2000 although Whelan himself had previously commentated for the 1987 event. Ireland did not participate in the 1983 edition in Germany, nor did they send a commentator to Munich that year, but instead broadcast the BBC feed of the contest with Terry Wogan as commentator, who welcomed viewers in Ireland during his introduction. RTÉ Radio, however, did provide commentary by Brendan Balfe.

Year(s) Television commentator Radio commentator Spokesperson
1965 Bunny Carr Kevin RocheFrank Hall
1966 Brendan O'Reilly
1967 Gay Byrne
1969 Gay Byrne John Skehan
1970 Valerie McGovern
1971 Noel Andrews N/A
1972 Mike Murphy Kevin Roche & Liam Devally
1973 Liam Devally
1974 Brendan Balfe
1978 Larry Gogan John Skehan
1979 Mike Murphy David Heffernan
1980 Larry Gogan Pat Kenny
1981 John Skehan
1983 Terry Wogan (via BBC) Brendan Balfe Ireland did not participate
1984 Gay Byrne Larry Gogan John Skehan
1985 Linda Martin
1986 Brendan Balfe
1987 Marty Whelan
1988 Mike Murphy
1989 Ronan Collins & Michelle RoccaEileen Dunne
1990 Jimmy Greeley & Clíona Ní Bhuachalla
1991 Pat Kenny
1999 Clare McNamara
2000 Marty Whelan Derek Mooney
2001 Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh
2002 No radio commentary Ireland did not participate
2003 Marty Whelan & Phil Coulter Pamela Flood
2004 Marty Whelan Johnny Logan
2005 Dana
2006 Eimear Quinn
2007 Linda Martin
2008 Larry Gogan Niamh Kavanagh
2009 Maxi Derek Mooney
2011 Shay Byrne and Zbyszek Zalinski
2012 Gráinne Seoige
2013 Nicky Byrne
2016 Neil Doherty and Zbyszek Zalinski Sinéad Kennedy


See also


  1. RTÉ:Eurovision. RTÉ.ie. Retrieved on 5 September 2007.
  2. Millstreet. Retrieved on 5 September 2007.
  3. "Ireland dumped out of Eurovision". BBC. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  4. Diggiloo Thrush - Ireland
  5. #2 BBC
  6. "Marty and the 'cool' Irish". Irish Independent. 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
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