'pride' | 

Campaigner calls for everyone in Ireland to learn national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann

"It's no secret that the majority of us here in Ireland don't know the words of our own national anthem.”

The Irish soccer team.© SPORTSFILE

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A campaign has been launched to encourage everyone in Ireland to learn the words to the national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann.

"It's no secret that the majority of us here in Ireland don't know the words of our own national anthem,” Rachel J. Cooper, the head of the initiative and the author of Our National Anthem children’s book, told Newstalk.

"I was the same before I embarked on this journey as well.

"I'm starting a nationwide initiative to raise awareness, and to get people at home learning and singing Amhrán na bhFiann - and also to get the Irish communities abroad learning.

"The school competition is launching at Croke Park this afternoon, and I'm really excited about it."

All primary schools in Ireland from third class to sixth class are invited to send a video of their class singing the anthem.

The winners will receive a prize bundle of a specially commissioned trophy, a guided tour of the GAA museum at Croke Park and more.

"The focus is to make its meaning more applicable for today's society,” the Learn Our Anthem website says.

"To turn it away from any negative association and to bring it to the attention of all people living in Ireland from ALL backgrounds.

"Yes, we are all soldiers - but what we are fighting for today is different. Today we fight against things like bullying, unfairness, inequality and things that we know are wrong.”

Speaking to Newstalk this morning, Rachel said this year was a great time to start the campaign.

"It's the centenary of when our national anthem was first published as Gaeilge.

"It was written in English as The Soldier's Song and it was later translated by Liam Ó Rinn into Irish.

"We all know there's huge sporting events this year... we want to be able to sing our national anthem with pride in the crowds, and not be mumbling along beyond the first few lines.

"There's no better time to be proud of Irish culture and language.

"An Cailín Ciúin is currently placing a huge focus on Irish language at home and abroad, we have Irish actors with nominations.

"Amhrán na bhFiann is the most famous Irish song in the world, I think we should all know it."

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