The history of St Patrick, , is a bit sketchy, the exact date of birth is not known .Similarly, the place where St Patrick was born cannot be confirmed. Suffice to say there is a broad agreement that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the 5th century.And he is regarded as the founder of Christianity in Ireland.
There are so many theories and books on St Patrick and to do just one blog on the patron saint of Ireland,( also of Nigeria and Montserrat), would do no justice to the man. I am therefor focusing on other Irish historical traditions.
Amhrán na bhFiann or A soldiers song- The Irish Anthem.
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. The Executive Council of the Irish Free State, on 12 July 1926, 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.
Ireland’s Call-The Other Irish Anthem
Rugby is one of the most if not the most popular sports in Ireland, The national Rugby Union’s team consists of players from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.Rugby fans will know that since 1995 two Irish anthem are played at the start of rugby matches.
Even though Ireland’s official anthem is ‘The Soldier’s Song’, it is sensitive for those who have Unionist sympathies in Northern Ireland. This is similar to Northern Ireland’s national anthem which is ‘God Save the Queen’ and which is favoured by those who have nationalist sympathies. All rugby matches are played in the Republic of Ireland and both ‘Ireland’s Call’ and ‘The Soldier’s Song’ are sung. After the first verse is sung, it is followed by a chorus which is also sung in the same key and then repeated in a higher note at the end.
The song came into being in 1995 and was composed and written by Phil Coulter in a bid to merge different Irish traditions. The song was first broadcast in the Kelly Show in Northern Ireland and in the Late Late Show in the Republic of Ireland by Andrew Strong.
Today on St Patrick’s Day .Ireland will be playing England in Twickenham,England for the last match of the 6 Nations Championship(which is basically the European Cup for Rugby) and although had already won the championship, if they win today they will have won the grand slam for the 3rd time in history, it will also mean they will win the triple crown( the original trophy when the championship was only played by England,Ireland, Scotland and Wales).
Although I am a Dutch man(living in Ireland) and know very little about Rugby, on days like today I feel as Irish as any Irish man.
All that is left for me is to wish you all a Happy St Patrick’s day and may the luck of the Irish be upon the National Irish rugby team this afternoon.
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