In a special celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, I shall be donning green for the day and celebrating all that is Irish! We're having Irish Breakfast for dinner, lots of potatoes, and a lot of Guinness. Ironic for an Englishman who forgets St. George's Day every year. It seems very fitting then to celebrate Ireland in Eurovision, taking a look back at the 1994 contest.
20 years ago, Ireland did the seemingly impossible, by winning Eurovision 3 years in a row. "Rock N Roll Kids" was the winning song by Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan. Not the most popular winner there's ever been, but they did storm the scoreboard with a staggering 226 points from only 25 countries. The year also featured the debut of many countries; Poland finished 2nd which should officially go down as the best debut (Switzerland won the inaugural contest in 1956, and Serbia won on their return in 2007 following separation with Montenegro). My personal favourite of the year was Hungary. A truly beautiful song "Kinek mondjam el vetkeimet?" by Frederika Bayer finished 4th, and is often held in very high regard amongst Eurofanatics. It is Hungary's best finish so far, so we wish them Good Luck for 2014! Meanwhile, 1994 also had it's downs. Powerhouses like Luxembourg (who still have one of the best records in the contest) retired for good, as well as Italy taking a hiatus. And there was that bizarre relegation rule which we won't go into. Oh and I almost forgot...the 1994 contest was the first year we got to see the spokesperson for each country whilst they gave their votes! And what an interesting turn of events that proved to be.
But the 1994 contest is most remembered for... RIVERDANCE! Yes, Riverdance! Riverdance is without doubt the most popular interval act in the history of Eurovision, spawning one of the most successful dance shows of the 90s and 00s, continuing to stretch across the globe still today. Jean Butler and Michael Flatley became superstars, with Flatley going on to produce more and more Irish dance shows like Feet of Flames, and my personal favourite, Lord of the Dance. Riverdance became a chart-topping record in Ireland and performed well in charts across Europe; the score by Bill Whelan is undeniably beautiful, who rightfully went on to win a Grammy for his composition. So forget about the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest for today's folks, remember the 1994 contest instead! Listen to Riverdance and do an Irish jig! Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Riverdance - the interval act of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest.