EXCITEMENT is building in Baltinglass, Stratford, Castledermot and beyond ahead of tonight’s (Tuesday) Eurovision Song Contest semi-final as local singer/songwriter Mark Caplice gets to witness a song he co-wrote being performed to millions of people.
“It’s surreal, really. I feel like I’m going on a holiday except with something huge about to happen!” Mark told The Nationalist. “It’s just fantastic and so exciting!”
Mark, who lives in Baltinglass and who hails from Stratford-on-Slaney in Co Wicklow, co-wrote Ireland’s Eurovision song Together along with singer Ryan O’Shaughnessy and Laura Elizabeth Hughes. It’ll be sung by Ryan tonight in the Altice Arena, Lisbon, Portugal with Mark watching from the special VIP section reserved for the songwriters, while members of his family have also flown to Portugal to cheer him on.
Over the weekend, people were rallying around Mark before he flew out to Lisbon on Sunday morning. The approach roads into Baltinglass boast banners wishing the 29-year-old good luck, while local pubs and restaurants have been festooned with the Irish flag ahead of tonight’s sonic showdown.
“It’s been amazing. The support from everyone has been phenomenal. People have been calling to my door with banners, presents and good luck cards,” said a delighted Mark. “It’s really reinforced my love of this community and my family and friends.”
Mark is the son of Deirdre Lee from Baltinglass and Pat Caplice from Castledermot. He’s a graduate of Ballyfermot College, where he formed the band Touchwood. When the band split up in 2015, he decided to focus on songwriting and released singles under the title of Kolumbas. That same year, he wrote a charity single entitled ***You know it’s Christmas*** with composer Conor O’Reilly, which knocked Justin Bieber off the number one slot in the Irish online charts. Since then, he hasn’t looked back and has gone from strength to strength in his songwriting.
The song he co-wrote with Ryan and Laura Elizabeth was chosen by RTÉ out of 300 contenders for tonight’s Eurovision.
Although Ireland holds the record for the most victories in the contest, in recent years our national entries have failed to get out of the semi-final stage. Ryan’s performance of ***Together*** will be the second-last song of the night, when ten entries out of 19 will be voted through to the final on Saturday night.
With Ireland not being allowed to vote for its own song, Mark is urging people to get in touch with family and friends abroad to get voting tonight.
“Make sure to contact anyone you know who might be able to vote abroad and get them to vote for us! Every vote counts!” he said.
“We’ll see tonight how we get on. At the minute, I’m not a bit stressed, but that might change when we step into the arena. I’m just really, really looking forward to it all!”