From Academic Kids

"Amhrán na bhFiann" 1 is the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland. Although usually sung in the Irish language, it is also known by the English translation of its title, "A Soldier's Song", as well as the "National Anthem of Ireland" ("Amhrán Náisiúnta na hÉireann"). The lyrics of the song are by Peadar Kearney and the music by both Kearney and Patrick Heeney. It was composed in 1907 and was first published in Irish Freedom in 1912.

The song is regarded by many nationalists as the national anthem of the whole island of Ireland, and it is therefore sung, for example, at Gaelic Athletic Association matches held anywhere on the island. Unionists, however, reject this use of "Amhrán na bhFiann", and at international games played by the all-Ireland Irish Rugby Football Union team the song Ireland's Call is sung instead of, or (in the Republic of Ireland) as well as, "Amhrán na bhFiann".



"Amhrán na bhFiann" was relatively unknown until it was sung by rebels in the General Post Office (GPO) during the Easter Rising of 1916, and afterwards in British internment camps. The song became the official state anthem in 1926 when it replaced the unofficial anthem "God Save Ireland".

"God Save the King" served as the anthem of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until the independent Irish Free State was established in 1922. The continued use of "God Save the King" by some Irish people caused embarrassment to the new Irish state, and, on one famous occasion, Governor-General James McNeill refused to attend a public function in Trinity College when he discovered that the university intended playing the anthem during his visit. Even after the adoption of "Amhrán na bhFiann" as the official anthem a minority continued to sing the British anthem, as indeed they continued to pray for the King and Queen in religious ceremonies, right up until the state was declared to be a republic in 1949.

In recent years, a number of Irish newspapers and columnists have proposed replacing "Amhrán na bhFiann" with a new national anthem, arguing that the current wording is excessively militant and anti-British. Others have argued that the melody is difficult for bands to play. Problems have sometimes been witnessed at international sporting events, where either the entire song (not just the chorus that constitutes the anthem) has been played (as occurred, for example, at the Los Angeles Olympics) or the right part has been played but at the wrong speed, as occurred at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Some have proposed that the anthem be replaced with the Irish Rugby Football Union's song, Ireland's Call. The suggestion has also been made that, as occurred in Germany after World War II, the government might change the words of the anthem while keeping the original melody.


The Irish national anthem consists only of the chorus of "Amhrán na bhFiann", and is almost always sung in Irish. The first two lines of the anthem and the last two, played together, form the Irish "Presidential Salute", which is played when the President of Ireland attends official events. Only the chorus of "Amhrán na bhFiann", as used for the anthem, is given below.

Irish version

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 tiorán ná faoin tráill
Anocht a théam sa bhearna bhaoil,
Le gean ar Ghaeil chun báis nó saoil
Le guna scréach faoi lámhach na bpiléar
Seo libh canaidh Amhrán na bhFiann.

English version

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 bhearna bhaoil 2
In Erin's cause, come woe or weal;
'Mid cannons' roar and rifles' peal,
We'll chant a soldier's song.


  1. Amhrán na bhFiann is pronounced "ow-rawn na veean"
  2. Meaning "gap of danger" and pronounced "vahr-na vweel"

External links


Media files

  • MIDI file ( 7.6KB simple sequence from [1] (
  • MP3 file ( 1.0MB anthem played by the Army Band from Department of the Taoiseach (
  • RealMedia ( 3.9MB audio-visual used on RTE television in the 1980s/90s from The TV Room (án na bhFiann

de:Nationalhymne der Republik Irland es:Amhrán na bhFiann fr:Amhrán na bhFiann ga:Amhrán na bhFiann hu:Ír himnusz nl:Amhrán na bhFiann ja:アイルランドの国歌 pt:Hino nacional da Irlanda ru:Бойцовская песнь fi:Amhrán na bhFiann sv:Amhran na bhFiann


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