Wednesday 23 January 2019

Fingal's Ryan did us proud!

Ireland's Ryan O'Shaughnessy performs 'Together' in the Eurovision in Lisbon on Saturday night.
Ireland's Ryan O'Shaughnessy performs 'Together' in the Eurovision in Lisbon on Saturday night.
Margaret & David Byrne at Ollie's Bar.

John Manning

There was no prouder bunch of revellers in the country on Eurovision night than in the packed out bar at Ollie's Place in Skerries where they cheered on the hometown hero, Ryan O'Shaughnessy as he took Ireland to the Eurovision final for the first time in five years.

While the voting did not go the Loughshinny man's way in the final, as he finished 16th of 26 countries, it did not dampen the spirits of the huge crowd that gathered in Ollie's to cheer him on.

Ollie's Place has a special relationship with Ryan and hosts an annual gig with the local star and the bar's owner, Ollie Grimes said he hopes to have Ryan back at Ollie's Place very soon performing his Eurovision hit.

Ollie said: 'The whole community here is very proud of what Ryan has achieved. He did us all proud.'

The Skerries bar owner said that there was a 'huge turnout' on the night of people from Skerries and Ryan's native Loughshinny and the surrounding area to cheer the home boy on as he took Ireland back to the Eurovision final after a five-year drought.

His song and its staging certainly made an impact as China censored the performance featuring two male dancers, leading to a huge backlash from the LGBT community and more broadly who defended the Irish entry and their presentation of the beautiful ballad.

Ryan addressed the controversy on stage in the Eurovision Final as he finished his performance of 'Together' and defiantly told the worldwide audience that 'love is love'.

Recovering from an extraordinary and proud night in Lisbon, Ryan declared to reporters after the competition that he 'couldn't be prouder to be Irish' after the support he received from fans, friends and family back home.

Ryan said: 'I felt like I had everyone in Ireland behind me. It was really special for the whole team. Hearing from everyone back home, the support, the parties. I couldn't be prouder to be Irish.'

The result is Ireland's best in the last seven years so Ryan can hold his head up high as he returns home to Loughshinny.

Both Loughshinny and Skerries claim Ryan as a hometown boy and according to Ollie Grimes, while it's acknowledged Ryan is a Lougshinny native 'the people of Skerries are happy to claim him'.

Ollie said he is looking forward to inviting the hometown hero back to Ollie's Place for a special performance of his Eurovision hit. He said: 'We always enjoy having Ryan down here. We do an annual gig with him every year and it's very popular.'

Ryan ultimately finished 16th, scoring a total of 136 points with 62 of those points coming from the public vote and 74 from the jury vote.

Israel was the clear winner on the night with a huge 529 points collected when the jury and public vote was combined.

Well done Ryan on getting Ireland back where it belongs in the final of the competition. Loughshinny, Skerries and all of Fingal is proud of you.

Fingal Independent