Irish/Words and Music/Tír na nÓg

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Tír na nÓg
Listen to This Song:

Na Fíréin (on Spotify)

About the Song[edit | edit source]

Tír na nÓg is a ballad by Irish 80s rock band Na Fíréin (The Elect). It combines cheesy 80s synth rock with the Irish legend of Oisín and Niamh. Straightforward lyrics, familiar subject matter and a clear delivery by the lead singer make this a useful song for the learner with nostalgia for the song (a Gaeltacht camp favourite) or for the mid-1980s.

Na Fíréin were one of the first mainstream pop bands to release records entirely in Irish. Their music is very much of their era; Tír na nÓg appeared on their 1986 debut album and in places it's obvious that this song was recorded a year or two after Riverdance made it big. There are "celtic" elements in the song, especially in the intro, that don't appear in other songs on the album, which are much more straightforward synth-rock tracks that happen to be in Irish. Maybe Na Fíréin knew their audience, though; Tír na nÓg was their biggest breakthrough hit.

The song tells one of the best-known stories of the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology, the story of Oisín, son of Fionn mac Cumhaill, and his journey to the fairy kingdom of Tír na nÓg, the land of eternal youth.

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

The lyrics to this song can't be reproduced here for copyright reasons. Instead, below is a vocabulary list and translation tips for each verse. This guide is for the album version of the original song, the only version commonly available.



Verse 1[edit | edit source]

vocabulary
fadó long ago (adv.)

Notes:

  • "Fadó, fadó, in Éirinn", literally "long ago, long ago, in Ireland", is the traditional opening of Irish fairy tales, equivalent to the English "Once upon a time".
  • "Éire" (Ireland) is one of the few words in modern standard Irish that has a specific dative form. This means that there is a special form, "Éirinn", used after prepositions like "in".