It is with some surprise that the Irish entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, sung by Ryan O’Shaughnessy, made it to the final on Saturday. The song was not horrible and the singer is good, so there was no explicit reason for expecting that it wouldn’t qualify. But as we know from years and years of Irish failures, the quality of a song or singer is not always the most important thing.

So on Saturday the following countries will compete:
From the second heat Serbia, Moldova, Hungary, Ukraine, Sweden, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Slovenia, Netherlands will make it to the final on Saturday and from the first heat there will be Austria, Estonia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Israel, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Albania, Finland and Ireland. These 20 will be joined by the already seated bigger countries Spain, Portugal, UK, Germany, France and Italy.

So far so good, But there was one thing that I found even more surprising than the Irish entry making it to the final: It was that suddenly and immediately a National Pride seemed to kicked in.

RTE2 showed a celebrating Ryan O’Shaughnessy holding up an Irish flag and the text read “@Ryan_Acoustic summing up how the whole country is feeling right now:” And a RTE News item on their website had the headline “Nation shares pride at Eurovision qualification”. Comedy Actor Rory Cowan wrote “… Brilliant result. … Ireland are back”. [Should that not be “Ireland IS back”??? :-O ] Musician Brendan Murray commented “Well done @Ryan_Acoustic and all the team! It’s times like this I’m proud to be Irish now bring her home son!”. He didn’t explain thought who “she” from “bring HER home” was :-P

So there were some outbursts of national pride there indeed. But is that maybe just a few people playing to their audience? Or is it a widespread feeling of National Pride triggered by the somewhat odd Eurovision event?

Let’s see how it works out on Saturday. The competition final will start at 20:00 and can be seen on RTE TV.