Sunday 19 November 2017

WATCH: 10 Irish Eurovision entries from the forgotten decades

Tina Reynolds - Eurovision 1974 - Cross Your Heart
Tina Reynolds - Eurovision 1974 - Cross Your Heart
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Without a doubt the 1990s were Ireland's Eurovision heyday as we crooned our way to the top of the leader board a whopping four times.

Thanks to the flame-haired Linda Martin, the equally flame-haired Niamh Kavanagh, the duo that was Charlie McGettigan and Paul Harrington, and Eimear 'The Voice' Quinn we took home the trophy on three consecutive years- '92, '93, and '94.  We even came second in 1990 courtesy of Liam Reilly's warbling and again in 1997 thanks to the mullet-headed Marc Roberts. 

Although we're famed for this astonishing run of success, however, other decades have been punctuated by some outright horrendous, and some middle-of-the-road entries. Here's a selection ahead of tonight's Eurosong contest on the Late Late Show.  Whatever happens tonight, just remember it'll never be like this again (one would hope)...

1969 The Lindsays and Muriel Day - The Wages of Love

Apart from the title, which suggests one partner gets a salary for enduring a difficult daily life with the other, or something, this was a rather upbeat number from Muriel Day.  Decked out in bright green (to make the most of the new innovation of colour on TV) in what looked like bishops' garb (is that a silver cross across her chest?), she managed to come 7th out of 16.  This was the year before Dana charmed the pants off everyone with All Kinds of Everything.

1974 Tina Reynolds - Cross Your Heart

My how things had changed in the space of five years.  Gone was the billowing bishop's robe and beehive and instead we had a hot blonde sporting a purple dress with cut-outs which tallied perfectly with the song title, Cross Your Heart.  Lovely as she was, however, Tina Reynolds only managed to come 7th out  of 17 entries.

1977 The Swarbriggs Plus Two - It’s Nice to Be In Love Again

Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg represented Ireland in 1975 with That's What Friends are For (the song parodied by Father Ted with My Lovely Horse), and returned two years later with two ladies - Nicola Kerr and Alma Carroll - in tow (the plus two of the imaginative title), perhaps attempting to emulate ABBA.  It's unclear from the video whether the men or women are wearing more foundation.  They came ninth, the same position they had achieved in 1975.

1982 The Duskeys - Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

The pre-roll is jammed with more Oirish cliches than Temple Bar from the Guinness to the ceili to the horse-racing and each member of The Duskeys sipping an Oirish coffee.  Watching them perform, it's clear where Westlife got their moves. 

1985 Maria Christian - Wait Until the Weekend Comes

 Linda Martin had come second the previous year with Terminal 3.  She had voluminous hair and wore a blue dress.  Maria Christian followed up in 1985 with voluminous hair and a blue dress.  Just sayin....  She came 6th out of 19.

1986 Luv Bug - You Can Count on Me

Reminding us that the 80s was the decade that fashion forgot are Luv Bug in all their mullet-headed, puffy-sleeved, white jean glory.  They actually did quite well, coming fourth with their upbeat pop number, which sounds suspiciously like 'Suspicious Minds'. Or maybe that's just me...

1995 Eddie Friel - Dreamin’

We may have owned the 90s when it came to Eurovision, but 1995 was a bit of a pothole in our musical motorway.  Eddie Friel's Dreamin' didn't quite cut the mustard.  We had won the three years previous and Eimear Quinn won the year after.  Let's blame the dowdy suit. 

2000 Millennium of Love - Eamonn Toal

Now there's a perfectly coiffed mullet. Eamonn Toal cut a Paul Harrington-esque figure at his piano, before he left it to do some dodgy hoofing front of stage with giant screens projecting the top half of his torso directly behind him.

2007 - The Dervish - They Can't Stop the Spring

This was the year a woman dressed as a milkmaid sang lyrics including 'The curtain has been raised, the wall no longer stands / And from Lisadell to Latvia we're singing as one clan'.  There was a fiddle, a bodhran and an accordian thrown in for good measure.


2008 – Dustin the Turkey Irlande Douze Point

And then we just gave up and sent a Turkey.

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