Sunday 11 December 2016

Most of us happy to soldier on with 'Amhran na bhFiann' as our anthem

DON LAVERY

Published 31/07/2011 | 05:00

We may not know all the words or sing it very well in Irish, but most people want to hold on to Amhran na bhFiann as our national anthem.

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A Fine Gael senator, Jim D'Arcy, suggested during the week that it was time to ditch The Soldier's Song in favour of something more modern.

He thought a new anthem could be launched to coincide with the 1916 centenary celebrations. He was particularly peeved that the song, written by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney, had the words "Sinne fianna fail" ("soldiers are we") in the first line of the chorus.

The original first line of the chorus, he said, was "Sinne laochra fail" ("warriors are we").

"The national anthem was appropriated by one political party. I think this is the only national anthem in the world that has a reference to a political party in its lyrics," he said.

However, most people polled by the Sunday Independent didn't agree with him. The vast majority, 70 per cent, wanted us to stick with Amhran na bhFiann, although a large number of them wished they knew the words better.

Only seven per cent favoured Ireland's Call, seen exclusively as a rugby song, and another seven per cent favoured The Fields of Athenry, which was seen as a football hooligan/IRA-type anthem.

Another 16 per cent rejected them all and thought our present anthem was too anachronistic and war-like.

One country woman suggested: "Jedward should get it."

Oh God, anything but that.

Sunday Independent

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