Competition winner: a new blood-boiling national anthem

 

Last month, we invited ‘Irish Times’ readers to compose a new national anthem for Ireland. Here are the results . . .

WHEN Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh of the Duckworth-Lewis Method wrote and recorded a new national anthem for St Patrick’s Day, at the invitation of The Irish Times, little did we or they know that it would become a viral hit. (Listen on irishtimes.com/newspaper/break ing/2010/0316/breaking1.html)

Of course, there were many people who claimed that they could do better. So, the challenge was put out there. The Irish Timesran a competition asking for alternative anthems.

The judges would be: the two Duckworth-Lewis Method musicians; former Irish international rugby player Frankie Sheahan; and myself, Shane Hegarty.

The anthems had to be no more than 90 seconds long (a little longer than Amhrán na bhFiann), but could be from any genre. It was fun to imagine the All-Ireland Final teams lining up to a punk anthem.

As it turned out, the entries were largely of a singer-songwriter nature – though not all were folk songs or performed solely on an acoustic guitar.

There were some genre-bending efforts, most notably the entry Kiss Me Quick I’m Irish, an acid track that the nation mightn’t be able to cope with every time it plays an international match.

Lyrically, there were some consistent themes, such as how the country is in ruin and in hock. Most songs were very angry about this. Bankers, the church, the government and politicians all received plenty of mention.

There were some upbeat exceptions, though, including one from Piers Percy, who brought a nice pop edge to a positively titled Build It Up. There were also some “let’s pull ourselves up by the bootstraps” songs that wouldn’t be out of place in an ad for Your Country, Your Call.

There was also some repetition in the imagery. For instance, Ireland’s placing in the North Atlantic was sung about more than once – something already mentioned in the Duckworth-Lewis Method’s version.

There was plenty of humour. One entry was titled The Ivory Coast has Nicked Our Flag, and it expanded at some length on this national sleight. Adrian Comerford’s Get Up for Irelandimagined what it would be like to literally.make love to your country.

Also awarded a prize was William O’Connor for his blankly titled Anthem Attempt. Thankfully he put more imagination in to the lyrics, and it garnered enough votes to win a runners-up prize.

Also a runner-up was Colm Hall (aka The Drop of a Hat), whose entry mixed a hummable tune with satirical lyrics that sum up the general mood. It also deployed an opening couplet about the “streets of Dublin/ bubblin’ with urine” that is funny, clever and true.

But the entry that made the greatest impact on the judges was the rousing My Blood is Boiling for Irelandby Kalle Ryan and Enda Roche, who took that title and ran with it, using the Irish language, throwing in some sheep noises and ending with a big shout of “come on Ireland”. It was somehow angry, fun and patriotic all at the same time.

They win two tickets to the Electric Picnic festival 2010, plus €500 spending money, a €500 voucher for Beechpark recording studios. The song will be played on The Ray D’Arcy Show on Today FM this morning and will be streamed on Irishtimes.com. The two runners-up each win a pair of tickets to the Electric Picnic.

Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winners. And if the country doesn’t think it suits our mood in a couple of years time, then we can always write another one.

My Blood is Boiling for Ireland

Here are the lyrics for the winning entry in our National Anthem Competition. It’s called My Blood is Boiling for Ireland, and its writers, Kalle Ryan and Enda Roche, describe it as: “Something every person could remember and chant. Think of it as RUN DMC meets the Dubliners in a primary-school Irish-language class.”

“A haon, dó, trí, ceathar dhéag . . .

Verse:

Oh my blood is boiling for Ireland

My blood is boiling for Ireland.

Ireland! Ireland!

Ireland ----ing Ireland!

My blood is boiling for Ireland!

Call and response chorus:

Conas atá tú? / Tá me go maith

An bhfuil tú anseo / Tá me anseo

Conas atá tú? / Tá me go maith

An bhfuil tú anseo / Tá me anseo

Verse

Call and response chorus

Verse

Come on Ireland!”