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Why ‘Ireland’s Call’ is the Unofficial Anthem for Irish Rugby

The popular song ‘Ireland’s Call’ went down in the annals of history when the Irish Rugby Football Union officially declared it as the official rugby anthem for Ireland. Since then, the song has been adopted by Ireland’s Korfball team, hockey team, cricket and the A1GP teams.

Political Significance

For those who are unaware, the team for the Irish is made up of players from both the north and the sort, but the team represents the island on an international level. This is quite different from soccer, which comprises of two separate teams which represent Northern and the Republic of Ireland. For other sports, teams may comprise of members from almost any part of the island.


These facts are significant for the song itself. Even though Ireland’s official anthem is ‘The Soldier’s Song’, it is sensitive for those who have Unionist sympathies in Northern Ireland. This is similar to Northern Ireland’s national anthem which is ‘God Save the Queen’ and which is favoured by those who have nationalist sympathies. All rugby matches are played in the Republic of Ireland and both ‘Ireland’s Call’ and ‘The Soldier’s Song’ are sung. After the first verse is sung, it is followed by a chorus which is also sung in the same key and then repeated in a higher note at the end.

The song came into being in 1995 and was created by Phil Coulter in a bid to merge different Irish accents. The song was first broadcast in the Kelly Show in Northern Ireland and in the Late Late Show in the Republic of Ireland by Andrew Strong. Coulter also re-wrote the lyrics for the Celtic Thunder tour and made it more martial with lines like ‘till our final requiem spoken’.


Since its origin, ‘Ireland’s Call’ has been the subject of heated debates, both in regards to its alleged political roots and the quality of its verses. This is quite apparent during the Rugby World Cup, the only time when team Ireland plays matches that take them away from home soil. During the 2007 match against England, even the commentators couldn’t help but talk about the song and its apparent influence on the on-field action. ‘Ireland’s Call’ was belted out with such hair-raising intensity that there wasn’t a dry eye left in the stadium at the end.

With RWC 2015 just around the corner, the song is bound to become a staple anthem during the matches. The game has played a major role in bringing people from every part of the island together even during times of political strife and upheavals. Songs like this one serve as the much needed glue that can overcomes boundaries and unify a nation like nothing else can.


Sing your heart out and cheer for your favourite teams down at Trinity Bar Venue. Besides live entertainment, we have an assortment of the best vintages Irish wineries have on offer along with mouth watering dishes that will not disappoint your pallet.

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