'Amhrán na bhFiann', the Irish national anthem, is by its very nature is one of the most performed songs in Ireland, and sometimes has controversy thrust upon it, becayuse of where it is, and is not, performed - but what of the man who wrote it?
The song was written in 1907, with lyrics by Peadar Kearney, and music by Kearney and Patrick Heeney. It came into use as the State's unofficial national anthem in the 1920s, being formally adopted by the end of the decade. Kearney himself would help found the Irish Volunteers, later to become the IRA, and take part in the tumultuous events of 1916 to 1923. However he would later experience poverty, disillusion, and depression.
Kearney, his life, and his song, will be the subject of a public lecture this evening, as part of NUI Galway's Centre for Irish Studies' programme of commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising.
The lecture, entitled A Soldier’s Song, will be delivered by Colbert Kearney, Professor Emeritus of English at UCC, author of The Writings of Brendan Behan (1977 ), The Glamour of Grammar (2000 ), a study of Seán O’Casey, and the novel, The Consequence (1993 ). The lecture begins at 6.30pm in Galway City Library in Augustine Street. All are welcome.