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Irish flagIn June 1923, the Dublin newspaper the Mail ran a competition to select an Irish national anthem, even though Amhrán na bhFiann (The Soldiers Song) was already being used informally, but, the important thing was that it had not been adopted formally.
The paper appointed W.B. Yeats, Lennox Robinson and James Stephens to adjudicate in a competition for a new anthem, with a prize of 50 guineas on offer for the winning ditty.
However, the adjudicators, having mulled the thing over between them, decided that none of the new compositions were of sufficient standard to win the prize and that was that.
Five years later, in 1928, the Irish Free State adopted Amhrán na bhFiann as its anthem, which it has been ever since.

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Published by History Press Ireland April 2014

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