Daily Archives: September 11, 2009

Places Please…

Our assembled Choir of Conrad, Ashok, Magpie 11, Marianna and Ramana are all tuned up and ready to present another concert in the form of Loose Blogging.

Your National Anthem

– were the very words suggested by Marianna for our topic this week.

Come on; was she trying to test my stress levels or start a war?


I live on the island of Ireland for God’s sake! Six of the thirty two counties on that small island are in another country. Six of the nine counties in the Provence of Ulster are part of the UK, and that is where I have had my home for 32 years. Thirty two years with murder and bloodshed around any corner at any time.

I have watched families ruptured and torn apart all because of a flag, an accent or a national anthem. The very words National Anthem are as controversial as FLAGS! We don’t have flags in the corner of classrooms or in every office round the Country. Flags are such a thorny subject that in Northern Ireland Flags are banned from the work place. The quiet whistling of a National Anthem in a work place is enough to raise hackles and cause a strike. Mind you it doesn’t prevent the painting of Lampposts and kerbstones in some housing estates with the colours of the flag, to show which side has the control in the area. Flags are added to these same light posts, in the month of June each year and left until they rot or are torn by the wind. That is no way to show respect for a flag or country.

A short YouTube video giving a bird’s eye view from all sides, of a past we don’t want to return to:

There was widespread condemnation after 2 soldiers were shot dead outside an Army barracks in Northern Ireland in March of this year. Four other people were injured – two of them civilians. The shooting happened at Massereene Barracks, which is around 18 miles north of Belfast, and only next door to the grounds of Clotworthy House, a peaceful place I featured last Friday morning, on Sunday and again today.

As I mentioned in my post Last Friday, Reconciliation is a work in progress… very slow progress and we hope and pray that good will win through.

If there was one thing I learned from those awful dark days; it was to make sure that Jack and Elly never left the house on a short or sharp word, and that I told them how much I loved them, as there was no guarantee we would be a complete family unit at the end of any given day.

Rant over, time to come back off that tangent and focus on National Anthems – and there are many!

There is the one I heard as a child growing up in the south of Ireland, it was in the Irish language and the words were mumbled so I never in fact learned them properly. I never ever heard it sung with the English translation.

“Amhrán na bhFiann” (pron: ow-rawn nuh vee-yunn) or in English, “A Soldier’s Song”, is the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland. The lyrics were first composed in 1907 by Peadar Kearney, he was working backstage at the Abbey Theatre when he penned the lyrics of Amhrán na bhFiann/ The Soldier’s Song and, together with Patrick Heeney, set it to music. The song was first published in 1912 and quickly became the most popular of the Irish Volunteer’s marching songs.

The first draft, handwritten on copybook paper, sold at auction in Dublin in 2006 for €760,000.

The song has three verses, but the national anthem consists of the chorus only. The Presidential Salute, played when the President of Ireland arrives at an official engagement, consists of the first four bars of the national anthem immediately followed by the last five. The anthem is recommended, but not required, to be taught as part of the civics syllabus in national schools.

In 1920 Kearney was interned for a year in Ballykinlar Internment Camp, County Down. In 1926 Amhrán na bhFiann/ The Soldier’s Song was adopted as the National Anthem of Ireland, replacing the unofficial “God Save Ireland“. 

Kearney’s The Soldier’s Song and Other Poems was published in 1928. Peadar Kearney was the maternal uncle of author Brendan Behan.


The Irish National Anthem

Amhrán na bhFiann

A Soldier’s Song

Sinne Fianna Fáil,

Soldiers are we,

Atá fá gheall ag Éirinn,

whose lives are pledged to Ireland

Buidhean dár sluagh tar rúinn do ráinig

Some have come from a land beyond the wave,


Sworn to be free,

Fámho’dh bhe’rh saor,

no more our ancient sireland

Sean-t’r ár sinnsear feasta

Shall shelter the despot or the slave;

N’ fágfar fá’n t’orán ná fa’n tráil;

tonight we man the Bearna Baoghal

Anocht a theigeamh sa bhearna baoghail,

In Erin’s cause.

Le gean ar Gaedh’ chun báis nó saoghail,

come woe or weal;

Le gunna sgréach: Fá lamhach na piléar.

‘Mid cannon’s roar and rifle’s peal

Seo Libh canaidh amhrán na bhFiann.

We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

Seo dhibh a cháirde duan oglaidh

We’ll sing a song, a soldier’s song

Caithréimeach, br’oghmhar, ceolmhar.

With cheering, rousing chorus

ár dteinte cnámh go buacach táid,

As round our blazing fires we throng,

`S an spéir go min réaltógach.

The starry heavens o’er us;

Is fionmhar faobhrach sinn chun gleo

Impatient for the coming fight,

‘S go tiúnmhar glé roimh tigheacht do’n ló,

And as we wait the mornings light

Fa ciúnas chaoimh na h-oidhche ar seol,

here in the silence of the night

Seo libh, cana’dh amhrán na bhFiann.

We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

Cois banta réidhe, ar árdaibh sléibhe.

In valley green or towering crag

Ba bhuadhach ár rinnsear romhainn,

Our fathers fought before us,

Ag lámhach go tréan fá’n sár- bhrat séin

And conquered ‘neath the same old flag

Tá thuas sa ghaoith go seolta;

That’s floating o’er us,

Ba dhúthchas riamh d’ár gcine cháidh

We’re children of a fighting race

Gan iompáil riar ó imirt áir,

That never yet has known disgrace,

‘Siubhal mar iad i gcoinnibh rámhaid

And as we march the foe to face,

Seo libh, canaidh amhrán na bhFiann.

We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

A buidhean nach fann d’fuil Ghaoidheal is Gall

Sons of the Gael! Men of the Pale!

Sinn breacadh lae na saoirse,

The Long watched day is breaking;

Tá sgéimhle ‘s sgannradh ’ gcroidhthibh namhad,

The serried ranks of Innisfail

Roimh ranngaibh laochra ár dt’re;

Shall set the tyrant quaking.

ár dteinte is tréith gan spréach anois,

Our camp fires now are burning low;

Sin luinne ghlé san spéir anoir,

See in the east a silvery glow,

‘S an b’odhbha i raon na bpiléar agaibh:

Out yonder waits the saxon foe,

Seo libh, canaidh amhrán na bhFiann.

So chant a soldier’s song.

Irish National Anthem


Ireland’s Call

With the Ireland rugby team representing both the Republic and Northern Ireland, “Ireland’s Call” was scripted by Phil Coulter to help cross sectarian and national divides and adopted as the rugby anthem in 1995. However, at home matches in Dublin the Irish national anthem, the Soldier’s Song, is also sung.

Come the day and come the hour
Come the power and the glory
We have come to answer
Our Country’s call
From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We’ll answer Ireland’s call

From the mighty Glens of Antrim
From the rugged hills of Galway
From the walls of Limerick
And Dublin Bay
From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We’ll answer Ireland’s call

Hearts of steel
And heads unbowing
Vowing never to be broken
We will fight, until
We can fight no more
From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We’ll answer Ireland’s call


Danny Boy

Frederick Edward Weatherly (1848-1929) was an English lawyer, author, songwriter and radio entertainer.  He wrote the lyrics of the well-known ballad Danny Boy in 1910, which is set to the tune A Londonderry Air.   Weatherly wrote over 3,000 popular songs, including the hymn “The Holy City” and the wartime ballad “Roses of Picardy”. Weatherly’s sister modified the lyrics to fit “Londonderry Air” in 1913 when Weatherly sent her a copy. Ernestine Schumann-Heink made the first recording in 1915. The tune is played as the Northern Ireland anthem at the Commonwealth Games.   

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
‘Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.
And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.
And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.


Now to the National Anthem in Northern Ireland

God Save the Queen

God Save the King / Queen”  has been the national anthem of Great Britain & Ireland since the beginning of the 19th century. It was thought to be composed by Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778) as a patriotic song, and was first publicly performed in London in 1745 after the defeat of “Bonnie Prince Charles”, the Jacobite claimant to the throne, by King George II.

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
Oh, save us all!

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign;
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!

Not in this land alone,
But be God’s mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over

From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O’er her thine arm extend,
For Britain’s sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!

And there is one more….

We are part of European Union now (even if we don’t use the €uro) and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – Ode to Joy has become the anthem so to finish I give you a rather unusual version of it.