A Night of Eurovision Magic in Millstreet 27 Years Ago Tonight

Castleisland native Noreen Casey-Dineen and her husband John Joe were among the team of ushers at the Green Glans Arena on Eurovision night 1993. ©Photograph: John Reidy 15-5-1993

Twenty seven years ago on this Saturday night, a team of us from The Kingdom Newspaper went to cover the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest which was being staged in the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet.

For one more used to covering events in carnival marquees in towns and villages around the county it was a bit of an eye opener.

Press Briefing

The very presence of an occasion like this which always seemed so remote from this part of the country was also an education to the area in that big events like this could be catered for down here just as well as up there.

Reporter John O’Mahony and myself were sent to Millstreet a couple of months before the Eurovision night proper to attend a press briefing on the big event as Killarney was the main base camp for most of the activity.

A Building Site

The Green Glens was a building site then and you felt that the pressure was on if it was to turn out anything like the sets for the previous shows in Dublin and in various parts of Europe.

The transformation on the night was near incredible, not alone on the arena itself but the approach road from Killarney and the transformation of the town itself had to be seen to be believed.

Millstreet had staged big equestian events before the Eurovision and had drawn the biggest stars the sport had to offer at the time.

All Stops Out

This was different, all the stops were out and, in spite of official misgivings about holding the contest outside of Dublin the night was hailed an outstanding success – even by hardened Eurovision addicts.

And the Irish representative, Niamh Kavanagh won with In Your Eyes written by Jimmy Walsh and the Irish crowd went mad in Millstreet and took the madness on a few more laps with a massive party in the Glen Eagle Hotel back in Killarney.

It was all on this Saturday night twenty seven years ago May 15th 1993.