Photo: Gareth Chaney / TG4

Ireland comes into Junior Eurovision this year on a high after Sophie Lennon brought the Emerald Isle its best ever result at the contest last year with her performance of “Solas”, finishing in fourth place. Luckily, Ireland is in good hands with Jessica McKean performing the country’s 2023 entry, “Aisling”.

Scroll down for “Aisling” lyrics

Ireland in Junior Eurovision 2023: Jessica McKean with “Aisling”

Jessica may be Ireland’s youngest representative to date at ten years old, but she is already a seasoned performer. She has won numerous awards since she was three, including for her Irish dancing and singing.

The young star hails from the north of Ireland and lives on a dairy farm in the small town of Lifford in County Donegal. When she’s not in the spotlight, she enjoys arts and crafts, playing piano, football, and gymnastics.

Jessica earned her place among this year’s 16 JESC contestants, and a trip to France, by winning Junior Eurovision Éire, Ireland’s national selection show hosted by Irish broadcaster TG4. During the grand final, Jessica sang a cover of “Hold Me Now” by Eurovision legend and fellow countryman Johnny Logan. The public chose Jessica as the winner out of three finalists.

What do the “Aisling” lyrics mean?

Jessica sings about a fantastical dream (“Aisling”) that brings her home. In this dream, she goes on a journey back to a familiar place guided by “voices in the wind”. This familiar place turns out to be a castle – “a golden castle with a room for everyone”. She describes the queen of the castle, who comforts her and welcomes her (“The Queen wearing white/ She took my hand and she sang a song for me”).

As she waits for the king of the castle, she senses supernatural creatures around her (“I thought I saw the Banshee”). However, she tells herself not to be scared, now that she is welcomed by a friend. This friend is none other than Sophie Lennon, Ireland’s 2022 representative, who sings a brief solo towards the last chorus: “I am the light guiding you in/ Welcoming you back”. These lyrics are also a callback to Sophie’s own song last year, Solas (“Light”).

The music video features Jessica walking through the dreamlike grounds of a castle. She then enters the castle’s dark and empty halls, where she sees a ghostly spirit. She chases the spirit through the castle and finds Sophie, who makes a cameo and sings to Jessica with the sunlight streaming in behind her. The two girls then greet each other as they hold hands and sing together on the castle grounds.

“Aisling” lyrics – Jessica McKean (Ireland JESC 2023)

Lyrics: Niall Mooney / Fiona Mooney / Niamh Mooney / Sophie Lennon
Music: Niall Mooney / Ken McHugh / Will Weeks

Irish Gaelic text

Chuala mé guthanna sa ghaoth
Treoraí ag na réalta, faoi scath na hoíche
Treoir mé trasna na mara
Bhí sé cosúil le haisling
Chun mo hard go tír smaragaid

Chonaic mé teach solais chun mé threorú isteach
Go bhfailtiú mé ar ais

An aisling i mo thalamh
Sé an caisleán óir le seomra do gach duine
An bhanríon s’ uirthi bán
Thóg sí mo lámh s’ chan sí amhrán dom
Chan sí amhrán

In san seomra óir
I ndiaidh na cath tagann síocháin

An aisling i mo thalamh
Sé an caisleán óir le seomra do gach duine
An aisling, faoi ghrian s’ faoi ghealach
Agus scáthanna na sléibhte
Sé m’aisling, sé m’aisling

Ag fanacht ar leis an rí
Shíl mé bhfaca mé an Banshee
Ná bí scanraíthe

Is me an solas
Chun a threorú isteach
Go dailtiú é ar ais

An aisling i mo thalamh
Sé an caisleán óir le seomra do gach duine
An aisling, faoi ghrian s’ faoi ghealach
Agus scáthanna na sléibhte
Sé m’aisling, sé m’aisling

English translation

I heard voices in the wind
Lead by the star under the shadow of the night
Guide me over the sea
It was like a dream
Taking me to the emerald land

I saw a lighthouse guiding me in
Welcoming me back

The dream in my plentiful land
It’s the golden castle with a room for everyone
The Queen wearing white
She took my hand and she sang a song for me
She sang a song

In the golden room
After every battle peace comes

The dream in my plentiful land
It’s the golden castle with a room for everyone
The dream, under the sun and the moon
And the shadows of the mountains
It’s my vision, it’s my dream

Waiting for the King
I thought I saw the Banshee
Don’t be scared

I am the light
Guiding you in
Welcoming you back

The dream in my plentiful land
It’s the golden castle with a room for everyone
The dream, under the sun and the moon
And the shadows of the mountains
It’s my vision, it’s my dream

Will “Aisling” guide Ireland to victory at Junior Eurovision 2023? Are you swept away by Jessica’s magical voice? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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58 Points (JE)
3 months ago

Good article. FYI “ the north of Ireland” is usually a euphemism for Northern Ireland. Donegal is not in NI, so perhaps more accurate to say “in the northwest”. Also known as the land of Enya. Yes, in fact, just say that.

Ria NL
Ria NL
3 months ago

Just like last year Ireland send a beautiful song. I love it very much. It’s one ofcmy big favorites.

Jonas
Jonas
3 months ago

More Celtic schtick from Ireland.

Niall Mooney seems to be on songwriting duty EVERY year. Is he the go-to guy for TG4? Nobody else around?

It is not a bad song, having said that. Jessica is very talented. It’s nice to see Sophie on the songwriting team, though perhaps having her pop up at the end of the video is going a step too far. This is supposed to be Jessica’s “moment”.

Jonas
Jonas
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

P.S. Are Fiona and Niamh Mooney the daughters of Niall? I suppose that could make it sweet, even if it is obvious nepotism.

Dan
Dan
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yes he is the go to as there’s very few songwriters that are fluent in irsi

Vivian
Vivian
3 months ago

This song is absolutely beautiful, even if it feels a little restrained in some ways, mostly the instrumentation. Instead it’s a peaceful and tranquil ballad, and it works! Last year Ireland really seems to have found their stride in Celtic ballads, and this is another good work as a result. I don’t know how well she’ll deliver, and I hope the staging will be good. In the end though, there’s a bunch of other songs that stick with me more, even if I myself still do like this a lot.

It’s an 8.5/10 for me. Good luck Ireland 🙂

M B
M B
3 months ago

Better than Wild Cameltoe. Can the Irish delegation please learn something from their JESC counterparts?

NoMoreEscAddicted
NoMoreEscAddicted
3 months ago

Ireland brings the celtic and the mystic vibes once again, they are the only ones doing that and they could stand out. Now they bring the exact same formula as last year that bring them their best jesc results. They even go further as they even bring the singer of last year to make a duo with the singer of this year for the last part of the song. So will it work twice in a row, we will know that soon. This is a song that needs to be performed live to discover its full dimension. The main singer’s… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago

“Aisling” is a pretty good offering but the lyrics are so weird. It’s children, you have GOT to have clever lyrics and story. *Very* clever way to include Sophie and her song last year with the solas lyric and the white gown, but that’s about it.
Jessica has a very good live voice for her age, especially since she was competing, but you just shouldn’t have a child sing the “Hold me now” song. That was VERY OOO,
Good luck to Jessica in Nice.
#wherestheking

Jonas
Jonas
3 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

Just think of the lyrics of Hold Me Now as Jessica saying goodbye to a dying grandparent. That makes it work… I guess.

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

No I can’t, that’s equally tho differently bad. It shouldn’t be so hard for them to organize age appropriate songs.

Jonas
Jonas
3 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

A ten year old singing What’s Another Year would’ve been just depressing, so at least it wasn’t that.

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yes, depressing and cruel.

ANDREW BROWN
ANDREW BROWN
3 months ago

I loved Solas last year and i think Ireland have found their sweet spot with this follow up. Top 3 in my opinion. I wish Ireland would send something like this in the grown up version. Maybe they’re waiting until Sophie Lennon is 16!. Good luck quality entry