Song for Ireland by a couple from England

Song for Ireland was a major success on the Irish folk circuit when it first appeared in the early 1980s.

Ireland’s rich musical heritage
Song for Ireland Videos
Lyrics and Chords

It was recorded by top performers like The Dubliners, and Mary Black with De Dannan.

It’s a celebration of Ireland and has come to be seen as a kind of anthem for the country, its culture and its people. It therefore comes as a surprise to many people to discover that it was written by a couple from Staffordshire in England.

Mary-Black recorded Song for Ireland

Phil and June Colclough were prominent figures in the English folk scene. They set up the first folk club in Stoke-on-Trent in England in 1960 before moving to London where they worked with the legendary Ewan MacColl.

They later returned to Stoke and produced a folk music programme for the local radio station.

Phil Colclough was English but had Irish family connections in Co Wexford. The couple were holidaying in Ireland when they got the idea for the song. Their trip took in the Dingle Peninsula and the Galway Bay area; both places are mentioned in the lyrics.

The things people like most about Ireland?

The first three verses focus on the three things that many people outside of Ireland most like about the country: its natural beauty, the friendliness of its people and richness of its traditional music.


The fourth verse introduces a sense of sadness and regret relating to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

The opening verse has a poetic, majestic feel with its talk of silver winged falcons who “know the call of freedom in their breasts”. There’s a reference to Black Head where “twisted rocks run down to the sea”. Black Head is in Co Clare and overlooks Galway Bay towards Connemara. You can also look out to sea to the Aran Islands.

The second verse celebrates the easy warmth of the people as the Colcloughs enjoy “talking all the day, with true friends who try to make you stay”.

Song for Ireland
Ireland’s rich musical heritage
Song for Ireland Videos
Lyrics and Chords

Did you know?

Singing Cork barman has fans across the world - a video of the Irish music loving barman singing while he poured a pint went viral as people became enchanted by his easy going style and great voice. Check out his video.

Have you heard about…

Irish people warned about the ‘Celtic curse’ - a potentially deadly blood condition, that harms the liver, heart and pancreas, has been labelled the ‘Celtic Curse’ because more people in Ireland are prone to it than people from other countries. Find out more.

What about this…

‘Irish giant’ Tom Crean was one of the bravest and toughest explorers of the early part of the 20th century. Thanks to his positivity and faith, he managed to not only survive horrific conditions but also save the lives of his colleagues. Find out more.

Personalised framed prints

Illuminated Letters

Stunning Illuminated Letters based on the ancient Book of Kells

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.