I recently wrote this for The Irish Times about the two men above, Peader Kearney and Patrick Heeney – the people behind Ireland’s national anthem, A Soldiers’ Song (Amhran na bhFiann in Irish). I hope you enjoy it; it’s meant to be a fun read.
As part of my research, I spent a good day in the British Library reading this biography of the poet Peader. If you’re Irish, you might want to give it a go yourself. Although be warned, it weirdly spends more time discussing Dublin’s red light district than it does Peader’s anthem!
Here’s Paddy and Peader’s original song, which was written in English – a strange choice you might think given it was meant to inspire an Irish rebellion against the UK, but that was the language everyone spoke back then. It was sung by republicans while out training. They pretended to be hurling clubs.
If you go to Ireland today, though, I wouldn’t suggest singing it this way. Go for the modern, Irish version!