The National Anthem of Ireland has a colourful and interesting history.
The lyrics of Amhrán na bhFiann – A Soldier’s Song – were written in 1907 by Peadar Kearney – an uncle of Brendan Behan, who together with Patrick Heeney composed the music.
The song consists of three stanzas and a chorus. The National Anthem of Ireland is actually just the chorus.
The song was first published in the newspaper, Irish Freedom in 1912.
The song was not widely known until it was sung during the Easter Rising of 1916 and later at various internment camps.
The chorus was formally adopted as the Irish National Anthem in 1926, displacing the earlier Fenian anthem, God Save Ireland.
A section of the National Anthem (consisting of the first four bars followed by the last five) is also the Presidential Salute.
The words voiced in English and Irish below..
Peadar Kearney also wrote words to other famous Irish patriotic songs including Tri-Colored Ribbon, Down By The Glenside, Erin Go Bragh, Michael Dwyer and Whack Fol The Diddle.
Kearney was working backstage at the Abbey Theatre when he composed the lyrics of Amhrán na bhFiann. He then got together with Patrick Heeney and they set it to music.
In 1920 Kearney was interned for a year in Ballykinlar Internment Camp, County Down.
Kearney’s A Soldier’s Song and other Poems were published in 1928.