Between being crowned champions of rugby’s 6 Nations on Saturday and St. Patrick’s celebrations today, Irish eyes are most certainly smiling. Best of all, the festivities give us the perfect excuse to take a look back at Ireland’s recent history at Eurovision.

For the first 50 years or so of the contest, Ireland were the undisputed top dogs. From their debut in 1965 to their last win in 1996, the longest wait they had for a victory was 9 years. However, their 21st century fortunes have been decidedly more mixed. Since 1997 they have only finished in the top 10 5 times out of 16 attempts. But despite the odd poultry related hiccup they’ve still managed to provide us with some memorable performances. Here’s a brief overview of what Can-Linn and Kasey Smith will have to live up to in May.

Recent History:

2013: Ryan Dolan with “Only Love Survives”, 26th Place with 5 Points

2012: Jedward with “Waterline”, 19th Place with 46 Points

2011: Jedward with “Lipstick”, 8th Place with 119 Points

2010: Niamh Kavanagh with “It’s For You” 23rd Place with 25 Points

2009: Sinead Mulvey and Black Daisy with “Et Cetera” 11th Place in the SF with 52 Points

2008: Dustin the Turkey with “Irelande Douze Pointe” 15th Place in the SF with with 22 Points

Recent Stats:

– If Dustin had gotten 12 points for every time he squaked “Irlande Douze Points” what would his final score have been?

156 (and higher if you include the backing singers). This would have secured 7th place in the Grand Final.

– How many sets of “Douze Points” have Ireland actually received since 2008?

Ireland have only gotten 3 “12 points” in the Grand Final (all in 2011 from Denmark, Sweden and the UK) and 2 in the semi-finals (Switzerland in 2010 and San Marino in 2012).

– Who have Ireland awarded their recent “12 points” to?

In the semis – Poland (2008), Lithuania (2009 & 2010), Denmark (2011 & 2013), Romania (2012).

In the finals – Latvia (2008), Iceland (2009), Denmark (2010, 2011 & 2013), Sweden (2012).

– How many many Irish acts since 2008 have received writing credits in relation to their songs?

2 – Ryan Dolan and err… Dustin the Turkey

Best Scoring Entry:

2011: Jedward with “Lipstick”, 8th Place with 119 Points

Jedward rose to fame by annoying Simon Cowell on the X-Factor UK with their tuneless, over the top renditions of novelty hits such as “Ghostbusters” and “Ice Ice Baby”. They were supposed to be a joke. But somewhere along the way they managed to find the pop classic “Lipstick”. With some top notch production and 2 fantastically flamboyant jackets, a record 8th Irish win almost seemed possible. Ultimately, victory eluded the hyperactive duo, but they did manage to secure Ireland’s best placing since 2000, while also spawning a legion of Jed-heads.

Most Memorable Lyrics: “You’re spending money like you’re on death row” Because what girl wouldn’t want to be compared to a murderous shopaholic?

Worst Scoring Entry:

2008: Dustin the Turkey with “Irelande Douze Pointe” 15th Place in the SF with with 22 Points

The logic was simple. Created by the people behind Zig and Zag, Dustin was a tv favourite of Irish children since the late 1980s. By default Europe would love him too. Sure if they could find space in their hearts for a bunch of monsters and a cave woman why not a turkey in a shopping trolley? WRONG! Rather than laughing with Dustin, they felt laughed at, and to the surprise of no-one, bar the Irish, he got knocked out in the semis, earning Ireland their worst ever result in the contest. However, contrary to popular belief he didn’t finish dead last – over the 2 semis 5 acts scored lower.

Most Memorable Lyrics: “Drag acts and bad acts and Terry Wogan’s wig” All we need is a Wogan comeback and the prophecy shall be fulfilled (again).

Honourable Mentions:

Obviously we couldn’t do an Irish country profile without mentioning their 7 (!!!) victories. It may be 18 years since their last win but nonetheless, in spite of all the off stage antics – live tv spats, political shenanigans and Jedward bashing – Dana, Johnny Logan (x2), Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh, Charlie McGettigan & Paul Harrington and Eimear Quinn – we salute the lot of you.

And here’s what Team Wiwi have to say on Ireland’s recent performances:

Wiwi: I’m still upset that Sinead Mulvey and Black Daisey placed 11th in their semi-final behind forgettable numbers from Lithuania and Serbia. Female pop rock at its finest, the group had some super polished staging. The silhouette of three women jamming during the bridge was among my favourite visuals in Moscow, and I often recreate their backward-forward motion in my bathroom mirror. The pyrotechnics and wind machine really drive this home in the final minute. Plus there is pain all over this. Y’all, she heard rumours that he kissed her at a party! Of the Irish acts that have made the final in recent years, Jedward’s “Lipstick” remains my number 1. It had life and vitality and an amazing LEDs. The hype surrounding Jedward introduced a lot of young people to the contest. Plus we got to hang with the boys in London!

Ireland's Jedward

Anthony: Ireland is pretty much the Eurovision equivalent of Real Madrid. Both have had their fair share of past glories, including back to back hat tricks. And just like Los Merengues, the Emerald Isle is due another elusive European win. So far, it’s been a frustrating journey. I’m still shocked by Ryan Dolan’s undeserved last place. Linda Martin might have undone the memories of Ireland’s 1992 victory with her antics at this year’s Eurosong. And Jedward’s effect on Europe today has unfortunately thrown Johnny Logan’s achievements straight out the window. No wonder Logan found the Grimes brothers “embarrassing”. Considering the economic turmoil the country has suffered, you’d think that Ireland would resort to that infamous Father Ted moment. Wait! They already did – Dustin.

Deban: Yes, Ireland may have won the contest more than any other country, but their repeated failures in the new millennium have usurped the spotlight. Things only started looking up when Jedward represented the Emerald Isle in 2011. This was really the turning point for Ireland, and for the contest as a whole. “Lipstick” was a tour de force. The visual accompaniment was fresh, and the hype surrounding the Irish entry brought new fans to the contest. Although they didn’t clinch victory in Düsseldorf, their entry was the most successful Eurovision track of 2011.

The following year, Jedward participated with “Waterline“. Although this didn’t do as well, it put them and Ireland back on the map. More importantly for ESC as a whole, their participation created an excitement and energy not seen since Tatu’s participation for Russia in 2003. Love or loathe them, that’s not the point here. Focusing on the facts of the matter, the pair of them are jointly responsible, and deserve credit for Ireland’s renewed relevance in the contest.

Zach: For the nation that has won more than anyone in Eurovision history, lately Ireland has been REALLY lacklustre. I don’t remember ANY of their entries between 1997 and 2007, and I only remember 2007 because it was horrible. The two entries I liked all round were 2009 and 2010. Sinead Mulvey and Black Daisy really lit up the stage in Moscow, I’m surprised they didn’t qualify. It had such a high level of energy! Niamh brought back some Celtic influences, when done properly I love when Ireland brings Celtic to the contest. (Dervish failed at it though) Niamh has a good set of pipes, and based on the quality of songs that scored higher than her in Oslo, it’s bordering on the travesty level. I didn’t catch Jedward fever, I thought they were annoying and overrated. Ryan Dolan had an awesome studio version, but the live show was all over the place and his vocals weren’t good. Cute face though (tee hee hee)!  And I just want to give a shout out to my girl Eimear Quinn! The best Irish winner ever, and my 3rd favourite winner ever!

Katie: I always like watching Ireland perform as I know there will be bitter rivalry between the British and Irish press the morning after, which is funny to read. I didn’t think last year’s last place finish was deserved as Ryan did a great job! Although I did miss the lovely Jedward gracing the stage with all their sparkles and massive shoulder pads… One thing I haven’t missed is that scraggy turkey puppet. What were they thinking sending THAT?

And finally…

For the day that’s in it we’ve a little treat for you – Riverdance – Beyoncé style:

Padraig Jude contributed this report from Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PadraigJude. And while you’re at it, like our Facebook page to stay up-to-date with the latest Eurovision news and gossip.

Photos: The Mirror and Jedward

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10 years ago

Looking back through this, I just realise the mindset we had in Ireland was pretty different in relation to Dustin.

Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY knew who Dustin was. He was a part of everybody’s childhood. We all thought this was hilarious, and that Europe would love him and all of the stupidity and silliness.

Obviously not.

10 years ago

ireland in 2000 is an amazing song!! You really should listen to it!
Also Ireland in 1998 and 1999.

10 years ago

@Pastora: It’s the consequence of a flawed voting system. Expect more strange results like that for this year’s contest. I remember watching the 2011 contest and being amazed that Jedward was in the top 3 in the early voting. But they really did deserve their high placing – the extremely strong backup singers and the strange mixing system somehow combined to make Jedward’s act actually sound good. (The jury agreed with me on this, ranking them 6th.) They had a good song in 2012, but by then their act had lost its novelty. Either that, or it was the wrong… Read more »

10 years ago

Ireland killed their reputation as soon as they sent Jedward. I’m just happy that after 3 years of garbage representatives, Ireland have sent something amazing this year.

Pastora Soler haha
Pastora Soler haha
10 years ago

Still I can’t understand why Ryan Dolan was in last place if he was 14th!!! (public) and 23 (jury)

My country was last (jury and public), and we were 25th… ¿?¿

Very unfair, also Montenegro, out of the final and 4th (public)