Wednesday 7 December 2016

Former President Mary Robinson was 'moved to tears' by Riverdance’s famous Eurovision 1994 performance

Published 10/05/2015 | 12:57

Riverdance's performance during the interval of Eurovision in 1994
Mary pictured with her husband and Michael Flatley in 1995

More than twenty years on, Riverdance’s famous performance during the interval of 1994’s Eurovision remains one of Ireland’s most iconic television moments and it seems Former President Mary Robinson might remember the evening just as fondly as the rest of the nation.

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A new book ‘Ireland and the Eurovision’ by David Blake Knox has revealed that Mary Robinson became a little bit teary eyed as Michael Flatley and Jean Butler took to the stage at the then Point Theatre.

Although an RTE camera captured the moment Mary wiped away a few tears during the performance, he made the editorial decision not to broadcast the shot.

“I thought it would have been a cheap shot and I’ve never regretted that call,” he said in the book.

The book also revealed that senior managers of Eurovision Ireland were sceptical about Flatley’s wish to tie sex and Irish dancing together and also said they were keen to cast local Irish people instead of Irish-Americans.

“One of them burst out laughing, some of them looked confused, and several of them displayed obvious signs of distaste and disapproval,” Flatley said.

Mary pictured with her husband and Michael Flatley in 1995
Mary pictured with her husband and Michael Flatley in 1995
Riverdance's performance during the interval of Eurovision in 1994

“There was a pause when I had finished my enthusiastic but rather incoherent account of the rehearsal show. Then, one senior manager fixed me with a baleful eye, and asked, ‘Could we not find any Irish people that can dance?’”

Since the Eurovision debut, Riverdance has been seen live by more than 22 million people in over 350 venues around the world.

The show will have its 12th summer season at  the Gaiety Theatre from 23 June - 30 August 2015.

 

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