Ireland’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest journey so far…

On November 25th, Minsk Arena will host the sixteenth Junior Eurovision Song Contest. It will be the second time that the event takes place in the venue in Belarus’s capital. With Ukraine’s last minute confirmation, a record-breaking 20 countries will participate.

Therefore, it is the perfect time to look back at the journeys of all of this year’s participating countries in the contest. Today, let’s continue our journey and travel to one of the contest’s newer countries: Ireland!

Quick facts

  • Country: Ireland
  • Broadcaster: TG4
  • Debut appearance: 2015
  • Number of participations: 3 (2015-2017)
  • Highest finish: 10th (2016)
  • Lowest finish: 15th (2017)

Back to the very beginning…

For Ireland, we don’t have to go back too far! After a failed attempt to get funding to enter the 2014 contest, Ireland eventually made their debut in 2015. Ireland’s Junior Eurovision project is masterminded by Irish language broadcaster TG4. They hosted a multi-week televised national selection, Junior Eurovision Éire, which was won by Aimee Banks.

Aimee’s entry Réalta na mara lined up against 16 other entries in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia. The pop-opera ballad finished in 12th place. Nevertheless, Aimee would have secured a top 10 finish if televotes alone had decided the results. The contest was won by Malta’s Destiny Chukunyere. Not My Soul broke the points record at the time on its way to victory, while Armenia’s Mika and Slovenia’s Lina Kuduzović took the second and third prizes.

Keep scrolling down!

Ireland’s journey so far

After their debut in 2015, TG4 were back again a year later in Valletta for the 2016 contest. The broadcaster used the same selection format as in 2015 and this time Zena Donnelly was victorious. Zena had entered the selection process in the previous year too, finishing in 2nd place behind Aimee.

Zena’s performance of Bríce ar Bhríce in Valletta earned Ireland their best result to date, finishing in 10th place with 122 points. It was a comfortable 10th place too, Zena scored more than double the points Poland scored in 11th place. The 2016 contest saw Ireland sing in English for the first time too. For the contest, Zena translated the final chorus of her song into English while the rest of her song stayed in Irish.

Junior Eurovision Éire returned for a third year in 2017. It crowned Muireann McDonnell as its third champion with Súile glasa, co-written by Muireann herself. Unfortunately for Ireland, Súile glasa placed 15th in Tbilisi becoming Ireland’s lowest result to date. Nevertheless, Muireann earned a respectable 42 points from the online vote to join the 12 points won in the jury vote.

Looking ahead to 2018

Ireland will once again be using Junior Eurovision Éire to select their entry for Minsk. The show begun on October 14th and the grand final will be broadcast on November 11th!

My favourite Irish entry!

It might be Ireland’s least successful entry so far in terms of the scoreboard, but my personal favourite Irish entry is most definitely Muireann McDonnell’s Súile glasa. Perhaps too mature for a Junior Eurovision audience, this guitar-led track with Muireann’s raspy and unique vocals completely suits my musical taste. Alongside Polina Bogusevich from Russia and Isabella Clarke from Australia, this was my favourite entry of 2017.

Hopefully one day Muireann can take part in the adult contest. Either way, I hope she holds on to this signature sound and artistic identity she’s crafted for herself at such a young age as that is such a beneficial thing to have so early on in her career!

Every journey so far!

  1. F.Y.R. Macedonia
  2. Armenia
  3. The Netherlands
  4. Israel
  5. Ukraine
  6. Georgia
  7. Russia
  8. Malta
  9. Italy
  10. Azerbaijan
  11. Serbia
  12. Poland
  13. Australia
  14. Portugal

Which is your favourite Irish Junior Eurovision entry so far? Make sure you tell us in the comments section below and via our social media pages @ESCXTRA!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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