Tiocfaidh ár lá
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The English phrase "our day will come" has been used in various contexts. "Our Day Will Come", a pop song about love, was a 1963 hit for Ruby & the Romantics. In the context of Irish politics, in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the nationalist Michael Davin (based on George Clancy) says "They [Irish freedom fighters] died for their ideals, Stevie. Our day will come yet, believe me."
The Irish phrase tiocfaidh ár lá is attributed to Provisional IRA prisoner Bobby Sands, who uses it in several writings smuggled out of the Maze Prison. It is the last sentence of the diary he kept of the 1981 hunger strike in which he died. Many Republicans learned Irish in prison, (a phenomenon known as "Jailtacht", a pun on Gaeltacht) and conversed regularly with each other through Irish, both for cultural reasons and to keep secrets from the wardens. The Irish language revival movement has often overlapped with Irish Republicanism, particularly in Northern Ireland. The upsurge in Republican consciousness in the wake of the hunger strikes also increased awareness of the Irish language in Republican areas.
The slogan has been used by Sinn Féin representatives, appeared on graffiti and political murals, and been shouted by IRA defendants being convicted in British and Irish courts, and their supporters in the public gallery. Patrick Magee said it after being sentenced in 1986 for the 1984 Brighton hotel bombing.
The 1992 and 1993 editions of Macmillan's The Student Book: The Indispensable Applicant's Guide to UK Colleges, Polytechnics and Universities advised potential University of Ulster students that "Tiocfaioh ar la" [sic] was a common greeting on campus and meant "pleased to meet you". This error, suspected to be the result of a prank, was expunged from the 1994 edition.
The 2007 arrest of Irish-language activist Máire Nic an Bhaird in Belfast was allegedly partly for saying tiocfaidh ár lá to PSNI officers, although she claimed to have said tiocfaidh bhúr lá ("your day will come").
Tiocfaidh Ár Lá (TÁL) is the name of a fanzine for Celtic F.C.'s Irish Republican ultras. It was established in 1991, at which time Celtic was enduring a period of prolonged inferiority to Rangers F.C., their Old Firm rivals, giving the sense of "our day will come" an extra resonance.
Similar slogans include:
- Beidh an lá linn
- (Irish pronunciation: [bʲɛj ən ˈl̪ˠaː lʲɪnʲ]) literally translates as "the day will be with us". Some Irish-language speakers, including Ciarán Carson, contend that tiocfaidh ár lá is a less idiomatic expression, reflecting English-language conventions (see Béarlachas). The hybrid form beidh ár lá linn (Irish pronunciation: [bʲɛj aːɾˠ ˈl̪ˠaː lʲɪnʲ] "our day will be with us") is also found among Republicans.
- Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach!
- (Irish pronunciation: [bʲɛj ˈl̪ˠaː ɛlʲə ɡə bˠiːɾˠəx], "Power will have another day!") were the last words from the gallows of Edmund Power of Dungarvan, executed for his part in the Wexford Rebellion of 1798. The phrase was often cited by Éamon de Valera. It occurs in the play An Giall, by Brendan Behan; his English translation, The Hostage, renders it "we'll have another day". It is not exclusively a political slogan, and may simply mean "another chance will come".
Parodies of tiocfaidh ár lá include:
- an English-language pronunciation spelling of tiocfaidh, it is slang for an Irish Republican (sometimes shortened to Chuck).
- "Tiocfaidh Armani"
- mocking Sinn Féin's move towards respectability from the peace process
- "Tiocfaidh Ar La La"
- on T-shirts depicting the eponymous Teletubby as an IRA member.
- Irish language in Northern Ireland
- Slán Abhaile, "safe home", ironic Republican farewell to British Army forces
- Siege of Derry, origin of the loyalist slogan "No Surrender"
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- "Court told of gun battle as six jailed over bank raid". The Irish Times. 3 July 1990. p. 3. Retrieved 3 April 2009. "there were shouts of "Tiocfaidh ár la" and "Up the Provos" from the public gallery after sentence was passed."
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- Dillon, Charlie. "Beginners' blas: Sloinnte Normannacha". Blas. BBC Northern Ireland. Retrieved 3 April 2009. "Hence the saying Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach, meaning that another chance will come along."
- Stanage, Niall (8 March 2007). "Chuck Schumer, Militant Republican". The New York Observer. Retrieved 5 May 2007. "it became so associated with the IRA that it entered popular slang – a "Chuck" or "Chucky" was a person known to support the guerrilla group's armed struggle."
- Hayes, Paddy (16 March 1995). "Sinn Féin". The Irish Times. p. 15. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
- Holohan, Renagh (15 May 1999). "Now it's...tiocfaidh Armani". The Irish Times. p. 38. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
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- Crowley, Tony. "Northern Ireland murals containing the word "lá"". Murals of Northern Ireland. Claremont Colleges. Retrieved 30 March 2011.