A new national anthem?


A chara, – Some proposals to change the national anthem come from the same school of revisionism that brought us such classics as the mooted RIC commemoration.

The same insipid both-sidesism and hand-wringing of certain commentators and former taoisigh would give us a lukewarm and contrived anthem-by-committee that whitewashes our history and inspires exactly no one. Remember the well-intentioned charity single tribute The Ballad of Ronnie Drew for the late giant of Irish folk? Probably best that you don’t.

Amhrán na bhFiann is a national anthem – it’s supposed to stir emotion and have historical resonance. Parachuting in something along the lines of Ireland’s Call would be to dilute unforgivably our national cultural memory.

While we needn’t descend into jingoistic nationalism or paranoid chauvinism, we should cease to feel embarrassed about national pride, and we should be comfortable acknowledging that while it was complicated and messy and tragic, there were people on the right and wrong side of history.

We can cross the bridge of reconsidering the anthem as part of whatever convention eventually begins the reunification process in earnest. – Is mise,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – What about Shaun Davey’s musically beautiful anthem composed for the 2003 Special Games Olympics? No politics – just uplifting! – Yours, etc,


Achill Island ,

Co Mayo.

Sir, – There are three elements in the national anthem: the music, the words and the tempo.

At the Wexford Opera Festival, the anthem is played vivace to an enthusiastic audience, with lubricated vocal cords, who belt out the words with enthusiasm. It is an unbeatable start to the evening.

At the Aviva, the anthem is played at moderate speed to cold, impatient teams and cold, impatient spectators and doesn’t stand a chance.

There is nothing wrong with the music – it is a great tune when played fast.

But it does need new lyrics. So let’s have a competition. – Yours, etc,