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Opinion: Why Ireland Just Can’t Give Up on Eurovision

Posted May 9, 2013 by Ramp.ie in Ramp Specials

Over the next few weeks, many musicians who would have faded into obscurity long ago if not for one memorable night in Europe will be getting so many retweets and phone calls for advice and opinion, they’ll think they’ve died and become Johnny Logan. The reason? It’s nearly time for the “Eurosong” contest.

Remember back in the day when we used to win so much it had an effect on the song titles?  The one that immediately springs to mind is Johnny Logan’s song ‘What’s Another Year?’, and boy does it speak volumes; such nonchalance about winning.

Nowadays, though, we seem to crave Eurovision success as much as we need economic stability – a lot. It’s interesting to note too that the other time he performed, Logan couldn’t even be bothered to finish the bloody song. Seriously, Johnny – bad form. It’s no wonder no-one votes for us anymore.

And then, way back in 1992, Linda Martin won, and she was all “Why Me?” I mean, honestly guys we couldn’t have been happy with what we had for one minute eh?

Of course then there was our most recent winner in 1996 – “The Voice” by Eimear Quinn. A song written primarily about that voice inside Irish people’s heads constantly urging them to go out and buy some drink so they can forget the horrid, incessant reality called life that  they lead. Ahem.

In short, we couldn’t have made more of a mockery out of the whole thing if we had tried.

And we did try.

Think of the once beloved Dustin the Turkey and of course, the twin-headed behemoth that is Jedward. Don’t say we didn’t try.

We used to be happy enough writing songs about our really awful and depressing weather. Remember ‘Walking the Streets in the Rain’? Whatever happened to us?

The truth is, Ireland has become irrelevant to the Eurovision song contest – we’re only there to add a bit of colour, and the even bigger truth is that we enjoy being a part of it all; a boring, drunk fixture on the bright and intriguing tapestry that is the Eurovision song contest.

In fact, there is only one way we could make other countries notice us even the slightest bit. So. A proposal for next year.

For our entry, to the soundtrack of a lesser-known U2 song, we should sacrifice Giovanni Trappatoni to the great Eurovision goddess, Dana

. Either that or send in Fr. Dick Byrne and Fr. Cyril McDuff’s entry ‘The Miracle is Mine’ which was actually quite a decent song, if you ask us. Well, perhaps not.

Having won a record eight times throughout the competition’s 56-year history, we’ve become akin to the retired footballer-turned grumpy pundit of Europe. And, not only that, but we actually like what we’ve become. So, while we mightn’t care one iota if we win or not, the competition will still always be close to our hearts (or…something cheesy like that).

Mark our words, when the big night comes you’ll be lounging back with a cup of tea perched on the arm of your chair, watching on, riveted, as Marty Whelan ridicules entire nations of people with his own unique brand of stinging witticisms – it’s the one day every year that Ireland launches a verbal tirade on almost every European country there is. And we call ourselves a neutral state. For shame.

“Fair play to ya, Marty – the Eurovision is a joke, alright” you’ll be shouting as you cower behind a stack of Barry’s tea boxes, a single tear rolling down your cheek.

Casting an eye back over some of Ireland’s previous entries such as Donna and Joe, Chris Doran, Brian Kennedy and Niamh Kavanagh etc. –  it’s clear they’ve all left an eclectic, oftentimes wonderful, sometimes unwatchable legacy. But the truth is, while the Eurovison may only be a competition, it’s still left an indelible mark on the Irish – buried deep in our psyche. We just don’t like to admit it that often.

So, just try and stop yourself from attending that Eurovision party or tuning in to watch when Ryan Dolan takes to the stage to represent the nation, because you won’t be able to. Not because the song is any good, but out of pure love of the competition. Right now, after years of victory, loss and annoyance at the voting system, with Ryan Dolan, Ireland’s latest entry, it seems that ‘Only Love Survives’.

Love, that is, for the irreverent, odd and often frustrating nature of the Eurovision song contest.

We still love the old bugger, even if it doesn’t love us. We’re clingy like that.

Trevor Murray

Trevor Murray is an Arts graduate from NUIG with a passion for journalism. One day he hopes to make a living from writing. He also hopes that if you’re perusing this bio, you’re not planning on stealing his identity. Away with you now – shoo! Thanks for reading.

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