An open letter to Europe ahead of Eurovision 2018 2 years ago

An open letter to Europe ahead of Eurovision 2018

Dear Europe,

Long time no Song Contest.

If you'd told us back in 1996 that we would some day go five full years without qualifying for the Eurovision we'd probably have laughed in your face and said "Yeah right, and I suppose ye are letting Australia in it now as well?"

Well. You sure showed us.

But now that we're back on good terms, we'd like to make a humble request ahead of Saturday's festivities. Three words: don't screw us.

We're not asking for every last one of you to give us douze points. We don't even necessarily have to win the thing. We're just making sure you guys don't fuck us again.

And don't look at me like that, you know exactly what I'm talking about. A little song called "We've Got The World Tonight" by Mickey-Joe Hart? A banger to end all bangers. A zeitgeist-y song about seizing the moment, combining all the charm of an Irish guy who hasn't yet learned it's not cool to pull out your acoustic guitar at parties with cool dancey rhythms that I can only assume were included for YOUR benefit, Europe.

Again, he didn't need to win, but 11th?! That's an insult. It's no wonder that we started to take the piss.

And yeah, maybe we took it too far a few times. Inflicting Jedward on yiz once was a bit of a laugh, but maybe doing it two years in a row was poor taste.

Eh, as for the Dustin the Turkey thing, we've established a tribunal to get to the bottom of how that happened but we anticipate that it's going to cost us quite a lot of money before we actually have an answer for why that happened.

But don't throw up your hands like we're the only ones to blame. In 2016 you stopped Nicky Byrne at the semi-finals. The Nicky Byrne. Of Westlife. They hold the Guinness World Record for Most Consecutive Number Ones. How many do you have, Europe, you big bollocks? They've had 26 songs chart in the UK top ten. I haven't checked or anything (what the fuck do I look like to you? a journalist?) but I'm pretty sure that's more than the rest of 2016's Eurovision entries combined. And you turned him away like a mangey dog. For shame.

But imagine, for a second, that we're willing to set our begrudgery aside and let bygones be bygones.

This year you've shown us some measure of respect. Young Ryan O'Shaughnessy has made it all the way to the final in Lisbon. I beseech you to give Ryan, and his song 'Together,' the respect that it so richly deserves. Not necessarily because it's a good song (I've not heard it), but because Ireland and the Eurovision belong together.

The Eurovision is so burned into the Irish collective consciousness that Father Ted's parody of it literally forms the basis of jokes that everyone on the whole island can understand. We all know all the words to a fake song from that fictional episode of TV about the Eurovision. That's how much we think about the Eurovision.

And we don't understand why you won't let us love you.

Well, that's not quite true. Over the last couple of years, Marty Whelan has cottoned on to the strategies employed by voters across the continent. You're all voting for each other. All voting for your neighbours. Czech Republic and Slovakia, Spain and Portugal, Hungary and whatever is beside Hungary. All holding hands and helping each other out and leaving us to fend for ourselves. Marty sits there on RTÉ, presumably beside a big map, predicting who you'll give your douze points to, and you know what? He's right at least as often as he's wrong.

We're not as fortunate as the rest of you when it comes to neighbours. We have exactly one border. And, I'm not going to lie to you, we were pretty famously against it being put there. There was a war. You may have heard. Don't worry about it.

But even though we're isolated over here, we still provide so much for the rest of Europe.

Why don't you think about this: if there's ever a tsunami on the Atlantic Ocean headed for Europe, who's going to take the brunt of it? That's right. Galway, Mayo, Clare and to a lesser extent, Sligo. Stockholm wouldn't even get wet.

And if that's not enough for you, just think about what we've given to the world. Oscar Wilde. Samuel Beckett. George Bernard Shaw. U2's earlier work. We didn't exactly give you Daniel Day-Lewis but he loves it here.

We export $7.4 billion worth of "machinery including computers" each year. Did you hear that? Not content to let you wander off with just some machinery, we include a few computers into the mix as well. Have that. Don't worry about it. All we ask is that you don't go around embarrassing Nicky Byrne in front of the entire world.

And as for Brexit, well that's going to do a lot more damage here than it's going to do to the rest of you. And we have to put up with so much more of their shit than you have. We do that so you don't have to. Can you imagine how much better England would have done in their wars with France if we hadn't been distracting them for 800 years? Look, now isn't the time to thank us, just give us an eight-point average or more and we'll call it even.

Give us a chance this time. For Dana. For Linda Martin. For Johnny Logan, God rest his soul. If he's dead. I don't know, it's not my job to check on Johnny Logan.

For the memories we once shared. Do the right thing,

Sincerely yours,

Ireland