Amhrán na bhFiann

The Soldiers' Song
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This is the Irish national anthem. The music was composed by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney, the original English lyr more...

This is the Irish national anthem. The music was composed by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney, the original English lyrics by Kearney, and the Irish language translation by Liam Ó Rinn. The song has three verses, but the national anthem consists of the chorus only.

The first draft, handwritten on copybook paper, sold at auction in Dublin in 2006 for €760,000. It was used as marching song by the Irish Volunteers and was sung by rebels in the General Post Office (GPO) during the Easter Rising of 1916. After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, a large proportion of the IRA’s men and apparatus became the National Army. The “Soldiers’ Song” remained popular as an Army tune, and was played at many military functions.

In 1934, the Department of Finance acquired the copyright of the song for the sum of £1,200. Copyright law changed in 1959, such that the government had to reacquire copyright in 1965, for £2,500. The copyright expired at the end of 2012, the 70th anniversary of Kearney’s death.

The lyrics are those of an Irish rebel song, exhorting all Irish people to participate in the struggle to end the hegemony (“despot” over “slave”) of the English (“Saxon foe”) in Ireland (“Inisfail”). There are allusions to earlier Irish rebellions, and to support from Irishmen from the United States (“a land beyond the wave”) and elsewhere.

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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 baoil",
In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal,
’Mid cannon’s roar and rifles’ peal,
We’ll chant a soldier's song


Extended version:

We’ll sing a song, a soldier’s song
With cheering rousing chorus
As round our blazing fires we throng
The starry heavens o’er us
Impatient for the coming fight
And as we await the morning’s light
Here in the silence of the night
We’ll chant a soldier’s song

Soldiers are we...

In valley green, on towering crag
Our fathers fought before us
And conquered ’neath the same old flag
That’s proudly floating o’er us
We’re children of a fighting race
That never yet has known disgrace
And as we march, the foe to face
We’ll chant a soldier’s song

Soldiers are we...

Sons of the Gael! Men of the Pale!
The long-watched day is breaking
The serried ranks of Inisfail
Shall set the tyrant quaking
Our camp fires now are burning low
See in the east a silv’ry glow
Out yonder waits the Saxon foe
So chant a soldier’s song

Soldiers are we...

Can you provide a better translation?


Sinne Fianna Fáil,
F                 C
a-tá faoi gheall ag Éirinn,
Am    Em  Am
Buíon dár slua
Dm              G
thar toinn do ráinig chughainn,

Faoi mhóid bheith saor
F              C
Sean-tír ár sinsear feasta,
Em                      Dm       G
Ní fhágfar faoin tíorán ná faoin tráill.
F                C
A-nocht a théam sa bhearna baoil,
Em      Dm           G       G7
Le gean ar Ghaeil, chun báis nó saoil,
C     C7           F          E7
Le gunna scréach faoi lámhach na bpiléar,
F        C          G      C
Seo libh canaig Amh-rán na bhfiann