A Nation Once Again
|"A Nation Once Again"|
|Written by||Thomas Osborne Davis|
|Lyrics by||early 1840s|
|Published||13 July 1844|
|Recorded by||John McCormack, The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, The Wolfe Tones, Poxy Boggards, The Irish Tenors, Sean Conway|
Raymond Daly and Derek Warfield describe Davis's acute awareness that songs could have a strong emotional impact on people. Davis wrote that "a song is worth a thousand harangues". He felt that music could have a particularly strong influence on Irish people at that time. He wrote: "Music is the first faculty of the Irish ... we will endeavour to teach the people to sing the songs of their country that they may keep alive in their minds the love of the fatherland."
A Nation Once Again was first published in The Nation on 13 July 1844 and quickly became a rallying call for the growing Irish nationalist movement at that time.
The song is a prime example of the "Irish rebel music" sub-genre. The song's narrator dreams of a time when Ireland will be, as the title suggests, a free land, with "our fetters rent in twain." The lyrics exhort Irishmen to stand up and fight for their land: "And righteous men must make our land a nation once again."
It has been recorded by many Irish singers and groups, notably John McCormack, The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, The Wolfe Tones (a group with Republican leanings) in 1972, the Poxy Boggards, and The Irish Tenors (John McDermott, Ronan Tynan, Anthony Kearns) and Sean Conway for a 2007 single. In the Beatles' movie A Hard Day's Night, Paul McCartney's grandfather begins singing the song at the British police officers after they arrest him for peddling autographed pictures of the band members.
In 2002, the Wolfe Tones' 1972 rendition of "A Nation Once Again" was voted the world's most popular song according to a BBC World Service global poll of listeners, ahead of "Vande Mataram", the national song of India.
- Celtic and Ireland in Song and Story, pub Studio Print, 2008 pp84
- BBC News Service: World's Top Ten
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