It's almost difficult to remember now the years when Ireland had to struggle not to win the Eurovision. We tried everything from Charlie McGettigan to Niamh Kavanagh but for years nothing seemed to work.
We won everything; even our half-time acts were invariably miles better than everyone else's, but the pressure to live up to Riverdance increased through the 1990s.
As it would get to the sharp end of the voting and as our entry secured another douze points, panic would begin to set in.
How would we afford another stint hosting? And where would our musical credibility stand after another triumph at this international festival of musical cheese?
Then something strange seemed to happen. Eurovision fell in love with gimmicks - which, Dustin the Turkey aside, were never our strong suit. We began running out of ideas - send Johnny Logan again? - and slowly but surely we lost our Eurovision mojo.
Now, a generation later, we are taking it all a bit seriously again. It's time we proved a point - we can still win it if we want - and this year's entry - Lesley Roy's Story Of My Life is the type of well-crafted banger you could imagine going over well in Rotterdam. When she performs it in Rotterdam in May it will represent not just a recalibrating of Ireland's Eurovision ambition, but a moment of redemption for a young woman who just a few years ago seemed like she was going to be pop's next big thing.
Roy grew up in Balbriggan and her childhood was, she says, "a bit like The Commitments", with musicians and singers calling to the door. Her mother sang in covers bands and raised Lesley and her sister by herself. "It was hard for her, working and paying the mortgage. It gave me a mad drive to get a deal," she says now.
Her parents split when she was young and she says this was formative for her. "My dad wasn't really part of my childhood but I met him a few times when I was younger and then I reconnected with him when I was about 19.
"I tried to build a relationship from there and we talk all the time, but he lives in Portugal. When I was young I felt the pain of being in a single-parent family and not having a lot of money and not being accepted, and, like a lot of people, I wanted the limelight and the attention to make up for that."
At 19, she signed a record deal with Sony and appeared to have the world at her feet. She moved to America to work on an album and achieved a top 40 hit. But then the recession hit and her fortunes changed. She decided to become a songwriter, working for other artists, and, having moved to New York, she also came out.
"I knew from fairly early on that I was gay. I pushed that deep down inside when I was in my teens and I was very anxious about it. I had relationships here and there but I wasn't out; I only did that when I came to New York. I had it in my head that I'd go over there, release the album and tell people, hey did you know, also, I'm gay, and I've known for a long time."
She met her future wife, Lauren, while living in Manhattan's Chelsea. They got married in Connecticut nine years ago. "I am so lucky... after I got dropped and I was a mess she was really there for me," Lesley recalls.
"I was so high for a minute and then so low and she really helped. Her parents are Italian-American, her family lives next door to us. I have a family and a home and a life in America but there are many things I miss here."
When Ryan Tubridy mentioned Lesley's wife in the audience after her Late Late performance, she says she felt a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. "I have no idea why I felt this but just hearing my wife referred to, it felt like coming out all over again, but this time to the entire nation!"
Lauren is a therapist, and Lesley says that she often feels under evaluation. "I constantly feel like she's assessing me. The other night I was like 'Lauren, I'm going to process all this later, not at two in the morning after I've played'."
She says the time after she lost her record deal gave her an opportunity to focus on the craft of songwriting. "(Songwriting) was a rebuild and it wasn't so much of a brutal attack on the ego. I saw how other songwriters told stories. Story Of My Life was driving me crazy sitting on my laptop. It was written in Nashville. You might think it's easy to write a 'na, na, na' but it actually took a few weeks to get what I think of as perfect."
She says that she is ready for all of the "politics" of the voting and feels that a mid-tempo number like Story Of My Life has a good chance of cutting through the gimmicks and ballads of Eurovision.
"By the time the voting comes, I'll have done everything I can and I can just sit back and enjoy it. I can't wait to perform it again. I think it has a great chance and I'm so happy people are getting behind it."