Friday, 18 September 2009

Irish national anthem for your mobile: a patriotic must-have

True patriots all over the country will know the feeling. You’re standing in Croke Park in your gaudy Gah top waiting for the match to start. The rousing strains of Amhran na bhFiann begin, and all around you 80,000 half-wits belt it out in unision, their chests bursting with patriotic pride.

Most of them won’t understand what they’re saying, of course, having just learned the words by rote. Their mouths are moving, fish-like, and unintelligible sounds are issuing forth. But every unintelligible sound is correct, as they have taken the trouble to learn how to make them… a bit like the Latin mass must have been.

However, an unsuspecting observer would swear they were proficient in the noble tongue of the True Gael. You feel bad at your inadequacy, and ask yourself “is this what the martyrs of 1916 died for?" You hang your head in shame.

But fear not, help is at hand. An application now exists for your mobile phone, developed by Gaelchultur, whose stated aim is “promote the Irish Language and various aspects of Irish culture”.

The application consists of a karaoke-style interface, which spells out the words of the Irish national anthem in its Gaelic form (it was originally written in English). So even if you don’t understand a word of it, you can just whip it out when necessary and follow the on-screen prompts. It even has a convenient audio pronunciation tutor, with a suitably cringe-inducing, cloying, Wolf Tones-style vocal accompaniment.

There is also a handy translation facility – just in case you don’t know how embarrassingly godawful it actually is. See below.

The Soldier’s Song

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 wait the morning's light, Here in the silence of the night, We'll chant a soldier's song.

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 sire land Shall shelter the despot or the slave. Tonight we man the gap of danger In Erin's cause, come woe or weal' Mid cannons' roar and rifles peal, We'll chant a soldier's song.

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.

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.

Doesn't it bring a lump to your pants?


Bernd said...

I think Damian Corless relates in "Party Nation", that the Soldiers' Song only became national anthem by default ... because the Free State Army Band did not have a clue of what else to play at some official occasions. Thus it passed into usage as anthem without being properly established.

Still think that "51st State" by the New Model Army would make a fitting replacement ... or should that be "Banana Republic" by the Boomtown Rats?

The Gombeen Man said...

Banama, sorry, Banana Republic gets my vote!

Anonymous said...


You're only in the Ha'penny place my friend.

Now if you want shite look at shite we have to listen to!!


God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!
O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
Oh, save us all!
Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign;
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!
Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over
From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O'er her thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!

Harald75 said...

actually NMA's "We're the 51st state of America" would be a nice one too ...

"Here in the land of opportunity
Watch US revel in our liberty
You can say what you like
But it doesn't change anything
'Cos the corridors of power
Are an ocean away
We're the 51st state of America"

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Anon, I couldn't agree more - that's a shite anthem too.

@ Harald,very appropriate alright... one of Bernd's suggestions too. I blame it on the corporate tax rates!!

Harald75 said...

Hey GM, yes I referred to Bernds Posting. Although both of them would me really good.

Thinking of Nama, and some more of the sh... going on, and old 80ies one comes in my mind: Bucks Fizz, "The Land of Make-Believe" ...

The Gombeen Man said...

Harald75 said...

Hey GM, yes I referred to Bernds Posting. Although both of them would me really good.

Thinking of Nama, and some more of the sh... going on, and old 80ies one comes in my mind: Bucks Fizz, "The Land of Make-Believe" ...

Excellent!!! Here's another one: "The Lunatics have taken over the Asylum" - Fun Boy Three.

Anonymous said...

HEY GM how about getting the ANGELOUS on there the bishops would approve just a thought,maybe get the land of saints and scHolars moving in the right direction. cheerio from BEVERLY HILLS

The Gombeen Man said...

The Angelus would be a superb choice, Mr BH.

As well as pleasing the bishops and maybe even the pope it would also have the added benefit of being easier for the Garda Band to play - just a few bangs on a bell over and over again.

And the lyrics are repetitive and simple too.

Anonymous said...

Only the second verse of what you have quoted is the National Anthem,
in translation.