once again

A Nation Once Again

"A Nation Once Again" is a song, written in the early to mid-1840s by Thomas Osborne Davis (1814-1845). Davis was a founder of an Irish movement whose aim was the independence of Ireland. In 2002, "A Nation Once Again" was voted the world's most popular song according to a BBC World Service global poll of listeners.

The song is a prime example of the "Irish rebel music" sub-genre (though it does not celebrate fallen Irish freedom fighters by name, or cast aspersions on the British occupiers as so many rebel songs do). 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, albeit with less vitriol than some rebel songs, Irishmen to stand up and fight for their land: "And righteous men must make our land a nation once again." It should be noted that this "rebel song" was in fact written by a Protestant.

It has been recorded by many Irish singers and groups, notably John McCormack, The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, The Wolfe Tones in 1972, (a group with clearly Republican leanings), the Poxy Boggards, and The Irish Tenors (John McDermott, Ronan Tynan, Anthony Kearns) and Sean Conway for a 2007 single.


When boyhood's fire was in my blood
I read of ancient freemen,
For Greece and Rome who bravely stood,
Three hundred men and three men;
And then I prayed I yet might see
Our fetters rent in twain,
And Ireland, long a province, be.
A Nation once again!


A Nation once again,
A Nation once again,
And lreland, long a province, be
A Nation once again!

And from that time, through wildest woe,
That hope has shone a far light,
Nor could love's brightest summer glow
Outshine that solemn starlight;
It seemed to watch above my head
In forum, field and fane,
Its angel voice sang round my head,
A Nation once again!


It whisper'd too, that freedom's ark
And service high and holy,
Would be profaned by feelings dark
And passions vain or lowly;
For, Freedom comes from God's right hand,
And needs a Godly train;
And righteous men must make our land
A Nation once again!


So, as I grew from boy to man,
I bent me to that bidding
My spirit of each selfish plan
And cruel passion ridding;
For, thus I hoped some day to aid,
Oh, can such hope be vain?
When my dear country shall be made
A Nation once again!



  • A Nation Once Again is sung by the character, Paul's Grandpa (played by Wilfrid Brambell) in the 1964 film, A Hard Day's Night.
  • The song is featured as background music and partially sung by Tommy Lee Jones in the 1994 film Blown Away.
  • A Nation Once Again is sung in the movie H3 by Irish Republican prisoners after being beaten by police in their cells upon returning to their protest.

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