If you’re one of those people whose toes curl into knots at the very mention of the appalling Ireland’s Call, you might have a bit of sympathy for what I’m going to suggest. And if you believe we should sing Amhrán na bhFiann at all matches, just restrain your inner Derek Warfield for a moment or two while I explain what”s going through my mind.
You see, contrary to popular belief, only two of the six northern-hemisphere nations actually play official anthems at matches.
God Save the Queen is not the national anthem of England.
Flower of Scotland was written by Roy Williamson of The Corries.
Cwm Rhondda is a hymn.
While on the face of it, you might imagine that Ireland plays its national anthem at home games, in reality it does not, since Amhrán na bhFiann is the anthem of the Republic, not of the unified entity that.almost uniquely, rugby has achieved. Therefore, it’s not a national anthem either in this context, and even if the island became politically unified, there’s no possibility that this song would become the agreed anthem. Besides, it’s an awful depressing dirge.
Now, whatever you might think of the Marseillaise lyrics, it’s hard to deny that this is the best national anthem in the world. Everyone knows the tune. It’s stirring, it’s lively and it’s the obvious choice, though on the other hand, the less said about the Italian anthem the better and you can see where they get in the Six Nations.
What am I getting at?
If Germany joined a new Seven Nations competition, they’d have the marvellous Pilgrim’s Chorus from Tannhäuser and we need something equally stirring.
There’s no need for a political anthem to represent Irish rugby, which is one of the least political movements in modern Ireland and one of the most genuinely unifying. Therefore, instead of insisting on the Soldier’s Song, why not find a rousing, stirring, passionate rugby anthem that all supporters could adopt, just as the Scots adopted Flower of Scotland?
Ireland’s Call is not that song, but maybe we here in Limerick have the answer.
What would be wrong with The Isle?