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The National Anthem

Published: 1 November 2018
From: Department of the Taoiseach

The national anthem, called ‘The Soldier's Song’/‘Amhrán na bhFiann’, was written by Peadar Kearney either early in 1910 or late in 1909 (according to an affidavit signed by him in 1926).

The music, by Patrick Heeney, is understood to have been composed around the same time. The original English text of ‘The Soldier’s Song’ was first published in Bulmer Hobson’s Irish Freedom newspaper in 1912. ‘The Soldier's Song’ was not widely known until it was sung at the GPO during the Easter Rising of 1916.

Liam Ring (Ó Rinn) was responsible for its first translation into Irish in late 1916 and it was published in the Army magazine, An tÓglach, on 3 November, 1923. On 12 July, 1926, the executive council of the Irish Free State decided to adopt the music of ‘The Soldier's Song’/‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ as the official national anthem.

All three men responsible for the national anthem, Peadar Kearney, Patrick Heeney and Liam Ring (Ó Rinn), were from Dublin’s north inner city and lived within 200 yards of each other.

Amhrán na bhFiann

Sinne Fianna Fáil, atá faoi gheall ag Éirinn,
Buíon dár slua thar toinn do ráinig chugainn,
Faoi mhóid bheith saor,
Seantír ár sinsear feasta,
Ní fhágfar faoin tíorán ná faoin tráill.
Anocht a théam sa bhearna bhaoil,
Le gean ar Ghaeil, chun báis nó saoil,
Le gunna-scréach faoi lámhach na bpiléar,
Seo libh canaig' amhrán na bhFiann.

The Soldier’s Song

Soldiers are we, whose lives are pledged to Ireland,
Some have come from a land beyond the wave.
Sworn to be free, no more our ancient sireland,
Shall shelter the despot or the slave.
Tonight we man the ‘bearna bhaoil’
In Erin's cause, come woe or weal,
'Mid cannons' roar and rifles peal,
We'll chant a soldier's song.

A section of the National Anthem (consisting of the first four bars followed by the last five) is also the Presidential Salute. Listen to the 'Army Band' playing the National Anthem below

A sign-language version of the National Anthem is available below.

Related documents:

Seanad Public Consultation Committee Report on the Status, Treatment and Use of the National Anthem, 2018