As I write this post, it’s St Patrick’s Day, so today’s top 5 can’t be anything other than Eurovision’s most successful country. With 7 wins (4 of them in the 1990s), Ireland have a Eurovision pedigree stretching back to 1965 – plenty of material then for a top 5 countdown!
You won’t find all the winners here, but a few of them have made the top 5 – enjoy!
5. Niamh Kavanagh “In Your Eyes” (1993, winner, 187 points)
It was battle of the redheads when Niamh Kavangh secured Ireland’s fourth Eurovision title. Pipping the UK’s Sonia to the win back in 1993, this is my favourite of Ireland’s many female ballads. Niamh re-entered the contest in 2010, qualifying for the final but ultimately finishing in 23rd place. A sign of how the times have changed for Ireland (and UK too in the contest)…
4. Jedward “Lipstick” (2011, 8th place, 119 points)
This is the only song in this top 5 that dates from within the last 20 years and it’s those UK X-Factor phenomena, Jedward. Widely expected to be a car crash of a song and performance, it actually did very well (Ireland’s first and only top 10 placing in the last ten years) and the song remains a hit when it comes on at Eurovision themed club nights. Ropey vocals were overcome by letting the backing singers take the vocal strain, and allowing the twins to do what they do best – have manic fun!1
3. Eimear Quinn “The Voice” (1996, winner, 162 points)
This is a bittersweet entry for many I suspect – it was Ireland’s last ever win in the contest. Eimear won by a huge margin (over 50 points separated her from the runner up). “The Voice” is the most Celtic-sounding of my top 5 – and the the most Celtic song ever to win Eurovision I should think.
2. Johnny Logan “Hold Me Now” (1987, winner, 172 points)
An Irish top 5 wouldn’t be complete without “Mr Eurovision” himself – Johnny Logan. He won twice – in 1980 and here in 1987, and was the writer of their 1992 winning song “Why Me?” performed by Linda Martin. He has been scathing of Ireland’s approach to Eurovision in recent years – and seeing the dramatic change of fortunes, you can understand why!
1. Linda Martin “Terminal 3” (1984, 2nd place, 137 points)
It’s Linda “gobshite” Martin! She won the contest in 1992 with “Why Me?” but it’s her iconic song from 1984 that makes it to the top of my chart. This was also written by Johnny “Mr Eurovision” Logan. I’ve seen Linda twice now – once at the London Eurovision Party (which she’s returning to this year) and also at Eurofest at the RVT. She was great fun, though was utterly trolleyed! Still the Belfast party girl even now 🙂
Did you agree? Were there missing winners that you would have put in their place?