On the 12th of May, Lisbon will be hosting the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest with Ryan O'Shaughnessy hoping to go the distance for Ireland. Dare we hope he could bring back the country's first win in 22 years? At this stage though, we're happy with getting into the final after five years of just missing out on it.
That was not the case back in the nineties however as we had Eurovision wins coming out of our you-know-wheres and it seemed Ireland had finally found something we were good at. Italia '90 it wasn't but when Ireland secured win after win - becoming (the still unbeaten) most successful country in the contest - it was hard not to join in on the sheer elation on the streets. We even produced River Dance in all our excitement.
In this special Eurovision series for entertainment.ie, we will be chatting to those singers who managed to bring home the gold for Ireland, and find out just what it really means to win the longest-running annual international TV song competition. Looking at how the competition has changed over the years and previous winners thoughts on Ireland's chances this year.
Next up is Dana, who won Ireland's first Eurovision title in 1970 with 'All Kinds of Everything',which became an international million seller and kick-started the country's now legendary status in the competition as well as Dana's own career which went on to span politics as well as music, resulting in an election to the European Parliament and a run for the office of President of Ireland.
A basic one to start, but what did it feel like to win?
It was totally unbelievable. I was in shock for about six months.
What are your standout memories of the night and the lead up to it?
I avoided seeing anyone else's rehearsals through the week, so apart from the various receptions we attended and my own rehearsals, I was free and so I was able to see a bit of Amsterdam. The only interviews/photos I did were with the Irish press corp. So the first time I actually heard and saw the other artists perform was at the dress rehearsal on the day of the contest. Standout memories: all the artists sitting round a long table in a room back stage watching one TV As each artist went out to sing or came back from performing, the other artists would clap and cheer. There was a very good relationship among us. Another standout was getting to know Mary Hopkin. The UK entry was favourite to win. I was a big fan of hers and I was sure she'd win too. We became friends.
What impact did the win have on your career?
I had decided about seven months prior to the contest that I didn't want to be a professional singer I had already applied to teacher training college and was about to sit my A levels in a matter of weeks after Eurovision. I would not have been in show business had I not won Eurovision.
'All Kinds of Everything' has become such an iconic Irish song, do you still enjoy performing it?
Yes. I did go through a period some years ago when I felt I should stop singing it but people kept requesting it. I love hearing people's memories of what was happening in their lives when they saw me sing that night. I also love when young people tell me they saw me sing All Kinds !!
How do you feel about the Eurovision and winning when you look back at it now?
It was wonderful for the country and for me and my family. It was also wonderful for the people of Derry..it was a light in very dark days
Who is your favourite Eurovision winner of all time (doesn't have to be an Irish winner)?
I have a few favourites but I love Niamh Kavanagh' s song "In your eyes" Great song and fantastic singer.
What do you think of Ireland's chances this year?
It's a good song but it's also a difficult competition at any time. All you can do is give the best performance you can. I'm sure Ryan will and I wish him the best.
The Eurovision Contest takes places this Saturday, May 12th in Lisbon, with semi-finals this week.