Inspired by an outing to a stadium - where she realised that she (and those around her) didn’t know the words past the second line of ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’, Rachel J. Cooper of Abair Linn was inspired by what a book could possibly do to help.
She wants to start a nationwide initiative to learn the Irish national anthem.
“I think we all know something about the majority of us in Ireland, a somewhat sad truth - most of us don’t know the words to our national anthem ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ or ‘The Soldier’s Song’.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if all Irish children in the future knew their national anthem for life? Singing it with depth of feeling and pronouncing every word correctly?” says Rachel.
“A few years back, I went to a sports match and during the singing of the national anthem I realised that I didn’t know the words past the second line. I also realised that people around me were mumbling uncomfortably or looking at their phones. I then embarked on some minor research; asking people in general if they could sing the words starting with family and friends? Very few could,” she adds.
“I asked parents if their children were learning it in school. The answer was children usually get a photocopy of the lyrics and learn the words before St. Patrick’s Day. They quickly forget the words after that.
Our national anthem may be written in our national language and harder for many to learn - but is that not the reason we should know it?”
“I have written ‘Our National Anthem’ - a book tailored to 2nd to 5th class children with stories about Ireland, along with inclusive themes to ensure all Irish children are included in learning about their national anthem.” Rachel adds.