Punk legend John Lydon, who has Cork roots, makes bid to represent Ireland at Eurovision 

Mr Lydon’s mother Eileen Barry was from Carrigrohane near Ballincollig, and Mr Lydon still travels on an Irish passport due to his Cork roots.
Punk legend John Lydon, who has Cork roots, makes bid to represent Ireland at Eurovision 

John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, is coming to Ireland this year with his Eurovision entry, Hawaii. Pic: Duncan Bryceland

Ireland’s Eurovision Song Contest will have a strong Cork connection when punk legend John Lydon takes to the stage on The Late Late Eurosong 2023 Special in February.

Public Image Limited are one of the six contenders bidding to represent Ireland at the 67th Eurovision Song Contest. John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten since his time fronting the Sex Pistols, is PIL’s lead singer and talisman.

Mr Lydon’s mother Eileen Barry was from Carrigrohane near Ballincollig in Cork, and Mr Lydon still travels on an Irish passport due to his Cork roots.

Mr Lydon enjoyed regular holidays in Garryvoe as a child. His mother Eileen, who died of cancer in 1978, emigrated from Cork to London in the 1950s. His father came from Tuam, in Galway.

Public Image Limited’s music has earned them five UK Top 20 singles and five UK Top 20 albums. Their Eurovision song, Hawaii, is described as a love letter to Mr Lydon's wife of nearly five decades, Nora, who is living with Alzheimer’s.

Described as "a pensive, personal yet universal love song that will resonate with many", the song sees John reflecting on one of their happiest moments together in Hawaii.

According to the band, the emotional ballad is as close as John will ever come to bearing his soul. 

“It is dedicated to everyone going through tough times on the journey of life, with the person they care for the most,” he said. “It’s also a message of hope that ultimately love conquers all."

My Lydon has previously spoken of his summer holidays spent in Cork as a child, in the family homestead. 

“It was a run-down farmhouse with a lovely view of a lighthouse," he told the Irish Examiner.

"It all sounds very romantic but we had all kinds of multi-legged naughty things crawling around, even the chickens would run through the house. 

"There was no running water, my grandad built the house over a stream instead of having taps, it all felt very medieval.” 

The other acts who will battle it out to represent Ireland in Liverpool this May are Wild Youth, Longford duo K Muni & ND, 17-year-old Galway singer-songwriter Connolly and Donegal singer-songwriter Andrew Carr. 

The finalists selected will perform on a special Late Late Show on Friday, February 3, where the winner will be chosen by a combination of National Jury, International Jury, and Public vote.

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