On May 18th, 1996, Eimear Quinn, a young songstress from Dublin walked on to the stage of the Oslo Spektrum in Norway, and not only sparked a surge of national pride through the hearts of Irish people…by the end of her mystical performance, she had laid claim to the hearts of all of Europe.

It was to be Ireland’s seventh, and most recent, Eurovision Song Contest victory, and reflecting on the occasion from her home in Switzerland, Eimear describes her Eurovision journey as life-changing and the winning song, The Voice, as “a gift”.

“The whole experience of singing in the Eurovision was character building to say the least!” says Eimear as she takes a break from home-schooling her two children during the current lockdown, to chat to Ireland’s Own.

“It was wonderful and terrifying and glamorous and thrilling…all at the same time. The scale of it was so new to me and overwhelming, but it also gave me a chance to explore my own capacity as a performer.

“In the auditorium there was an audience of 8,000, and an audience of over 200 million watching at home. It is something which I will value for all my life.

“I am also very grateful to Brendan (Graham) for choosing me to sing his song. Winning the Eurovision changed everything immensely – it really has been a blessing in my life.

“I also met my husband through Eurovision, as he was the producer of Ireland’s entry going to Oslo that year.”

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own