Tiocfaidh ár lá

Tiocfaidh ár lá
Mural in Belfast linking Palestinian nationalism and Irish republicanism : the upper right is Arabic for Ireland, and at bottom right is written Tiocfaidh ár lá

Tiocfaidh ár lá (Irish pronunciation: [ˈtʲʊki aːɾˠ ˈl̪ˠaː]) is an Irish language phrase which translates as "our day will come", the hoped-for day being that of a united Ireland. It became a popular slogan with militant Irish republicans in the 1980s.



The English phrase "our day will come" has been used in various contexts. Our Day Will Come, a pop song about love, was a 1963 hit for Ruby & the Romantics. In the context of Irish politics, in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the nationalist Michael Davin (based on George Clancy) says "They [Irish freedom fighters] died for their ideals, Stevie. Our day will come yet, believe me."[1]

The Irish phrase tiocfaidh ár lá is attributed to Provisional IRA prisoner Bobby Sands,[2][3][4][5] who uses it in several writings smuggled out of the Maze Prison.[6] It is the last sentence of the diary he kept of the 1981 hunger strike in which he died.[7] Many Republicans learned Irish in prison, (a phenomenon known as "Jailtacht", a pun on Gaeltacht)[8] and conversed regularly with each other through Irish, both for cultural reasons and to keep secrets from the wardens.[9] The Irish language revival movement has often overlapped with Irish Republicanism, particularly in Northern Ireland.[10][11][12] The upsurge in Republican consciousness in the wake of the hunger strikes also increased awareness of the Irish language in Republican areas.[13]


The slogan has been used by Sinn Féin representatives,[14][15][16] appeared on graffiti and political murals,[17] and been shouted by IRA defendants being convicted in British and Irish courts,[14][18] and their supporters in the public gallery.[19][20] Patrick Magee said it after being sentenced in 1986 for the 1984 Brighton hotel bombing.[21]

An apocryphal story claims that Michael Stone got past the Republican security cordon to commit the 1988 Milltown Cemetery attack by saying tiocfaidh ár lá.[22]

The 1992 and 1993 editions of Macmillan's The Student Book: The Indispensible Applicant's Guide to UK Colleges, Polytechnics and Universities advised potential University of Ulster students that "Tiocfaioh ar la" [sic] was a common greeting on campus and meant "pleased to meet you". This error, suspected to be the result of a prank, was expunged from the 1994 edition.[23][24][25][26]

The 2007 arrest of Irish-language activist Máire Nic an Bhaird in Belfast was allegedly partly for saying tiocfaidh ár lá to PSNI officers, although she claimed to have said tiocfaidh bhúr lá ("your day will come").[27]

Tiocfaidh Ár Lá (TÁL) is the name of a fanzine for Celtic F.C.'s Irish Republican ultras.[28] It was established in 1991, at which time Celtic was enduring a period of prolonged inferiority to Rangers F.C., their Old Firm rivals, giving the sense of "our day will come" an extra resonance.[29]


Beidh ár lá linn mural in Andersonstown in 1989.

Similar slogans include:

Beidh an lá linn 
(Irish pronunciation: [bʲɛj ən ˈl̪ˠaː lʲɪnʲ]) literally translates as "the day will be with us".[22] Some Irish-language speakers, including Ciarán Carson, contend that tiocfaidh ár lá is a less idiomatic expression, reflecting English-language conventions (see Béarlachas).[22][30] The hybrid form beidh ár lá linn (Irish pronunciation: [bʲɛj aːɾˠ ˈl̪ˠaː lʲɪnʲ] "our day will be with us") is also found among Republicans.[31]
Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach! 
(Irish pronunciation: [bʲɛj ˈl̪ˠaː ɛlʲə ɡə bˠiːɾˠəx], "Power will have another day!") were the last words from the gallows of Edmund Power of Dungarvan, executed for his part in the Wexford Rebellion of 1798. The phrase was often cited by Éamon de Valera.[32] It occurs in the play An Giall, by Brendan Behan; his English translation, The Hostage, renders it "we'll have another day". It is not exclusively a political slogan, and may simply mean "another chance will come".[33]

Parodies of tiocfaidh ár lá include:

an English-language pronunciation spelling of tiocfaidh, it is slang for an Irish Republican (sometimes shortened to Chuck).[34]
"Tiocfaidh Armani"
mocking Sinn Féin's move towards respectability from the peace process[35][36]
"Tiocfaidh Ar La La"
on T-shirts depicting the eponymous Teletubby as an IRA member.[37]

See also


  1. ^ Joyce, James (1916). "Ch. 5". A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Portrait_of_the_Artist_as_a_Young_Man/Chapter_5. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  2. ^ Toolis, Kevin (2000). Rebel Hearts: Journeys within the IRA's soul. Picador. p. 412. ISBN 0-330-34648-2. 
  3. ^ Liam Harte, Yvonne Whelan, Patrick Crotty, ed (2005). Ireland: Space, Text, Time. Liffey Press. p. 110. ISBN 1904148832. 
  4. ^ Shanahan, Timothy (2009). The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism. Edinburgh University Press. p. 46. ISBN 0748635300. 
  5. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat (2002). The IRA (revised ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. p. 499. ISBN 0312294166. 
  6. ^ Sands, Bobby (1998). Bobby Sands: Writings from Prison. foreword by Gerry Adams. Mercier Press. ISBN 185635220X. 
  7. ^ Kearney, Richard (1988). Transitions: narratives in modern Irish culture. Manchester University Press. pp. 224–5. ISBN 0719019265. 
  8. ^ Mac Giolla Chríost, Diarmait (2007). "The Origins of 'the Jailtacht'". Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 27: 317–336. JSTOR 40732064. 
  9. ^ Jarman, Neil (1997). Material conflicts: parades and visual displays in Northern Ireland. Berg. pp. 242–3. ISBN 1859731295. 
  10. ^ Tanner, Marcus (2006). The last of the Celts. Yale University Press. p. 123. ISBN 0300115350. 
  11. ^ O'Reilly, Camille C (2001). "Irish language, Irish identity: Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the European Union". In Camille C O'Reilly. Minority Languages in the European Union (5th ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 83–96. ISBN 033392925X. 
  12. ^ Nic Craith, Máiréad (2002). Plural identities—singular narratives: the case of Northern Ireland. Berghahn. pp. 150–1. ISBN 1571813144. 
  13. ^ Crowley, Tony (2005). Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland 1537-2004. Oxford University Press. p. 195. ISBN 019927343X. 
  14. ^ a b Cusack, Jim (14 August 1984). "5,000 march in peaceful demonstration". The Irish Times: p. 1. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/archive/1984/0814/Pg001.html#Ar00103. Retrieved 2009-04-03. "Both Mr Adams and Father Burke concluded their speeches with "Tiocfaidh ár lá," "Our day will come," the expression used by Republican prisoners at their sentencing at Belfast Crown Court." 
  15. ^ O Coilain [sic], Caoimhghin (30 June 1984). "Buiochas". Leitrim Observer: p. 7. 
  16. ^ Ó Súilleabháin, Cionnath (7 October 2000). "Sinn Féin thanks to Áine!". Southern Star: p. 11. 
  17. ^ Rolston, Bill (1991). Politics and painting: murals and conflict in Northern Ireland. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 111. ISBN 0838633862. 
  18. ^ Geraghty, Tony (2002). The Irish War: The Hidden Conflict Between the IRA and British Intelligence. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 350. ISBN 0801871174. 
  19. ^ "Six jailed for arms crimes salute as supporters shout 'Up the Republic'". The Irish Times: p. 22. 20 January 1996. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/archive/1996/0120/Pg022.html#Ar02203. Retrieved 2009-04-03. "There was prolonged applause from about 30 supporters and shouts of "Up the Republic" and "Tiocfaidh Ar La" after the sentences were handed down." 
  20. ^ "Court told of gun battle as six jailed over bank raid". The Irish Times: p. 3. 3 July 1990. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/archive/1990/0703/Pg003.html#Ar00301. Retrieved 2009-04-03. "there were shouts of "Tiocfaidh ár la" and "Up the Provos" from the public gallery after sentence was passed." 
  21. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (10 December 2001). "The Monday interview: Bombs and books". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2001/dec/10/highereducation.uk. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  22. ^ a b c Carson, Ciarán (1998). The Star Factory. Arcade Publishing. pp. 41–2. ISBN 1559704659. 
  23. ^ Moriarty, Gerry (17 July 1993). "IRA slogan has become college "buzz word"". The Irish Times: p. 1. 
  24. ^ Klaus Boehm, Jenny Lees-Spalding, ed (1992). The student book 93 : the applicant's guide to UK colleges and universities (14th ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 0333567005. 
  25. ^ Klaus Boehm, Jenny Lees-Spalding, ed (1993). The student book 94 : the indispensable applicant's guide to UK colleges and universities (15th ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 0333585143. 
  26. ^ Klaus Boehm, Jenny Lees-Spalding, ed (1994). The Natwest student book 1995 : the applicant's guide to UK colleges and universities (16th ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 0333599470. 
  27. ^ "Irish language teacher in Belfast guilty of disorderly behaviour". 2007-02-26. http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/?jp=CWSNSNQLCWSN. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  28. ^ Jarvie, Grant; Graham Walker (1994). Scottish Sport in the Making of the Nation: Ninety Minute Patriots?. Leicester University Press. p. 184. ISBN 0718514548. 
  29. ^ "Tiocfaidh Ar La - For Celtic & Ireland". http://www.talfanzine.com/. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  30. ^ De Brún, Fionntán (2006). Belfast and the Irish language. Four Courts Press. p. 174. ISBN 1851829393. 
  31. ^ Buckley, Michael (Spring 2000). "Image V: Andersontown (sic)". The Writing on the Wall: Continuity and Change as Represented in the Republican Murals of West Belfast. Stanford University. http://www.stanford.edu/group/ww1/spring2000/Buckley/Image5.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  32. ^ Hughes, Art J. (2007). "Possible Echoes from An tOileánach and Mo Bhealach Féin in Flann O’Brien’s The Hard Life". In Séamus Mac Mathúna, Ailbhe Ó Corráin; asst. Maxim Fomin (PDF). Celtic Literatures in the Twentieth Century. Centre for Irish and Celtic Studies, University of Ulster. p. 220, fn.. ISBN 5955102132. http://www.celtologica.com/PDF/CelticLiterature10.pdf. 
  33. ^ Dillon, Charlie. "Beginners' blas: Sloinnte Normannacha". Blas. BBC Northern Ireland. http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/irish/blas/education/beginnersblas/sloinntemac.shtml. Retrieved 2009-04-03. "Hence the saying Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach, meaning that another chance will come along." 
  34. ^ Stanage, Niall (March 8 2007). "Chuck Schumer, Militant Republican". The New York Observer. http://www.observer.com/node/31683. Retrieved 2007-05-05. "it became so associated with the IRA that it entered popular slang - a "Chuck" or "Chucky" was a person known to support the guerrilla group's armed struggle." 
  35. ^ Hayes, Paddy (16 March 1995). "Sinn Féin". The Irish Times: p. 15. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/archive/1995/0316/Pg015.html#Ar01517. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  36. ^ Holohan, Renagh (15 May 1999). "Now it's...tiocfaidh Armani". The Irish Times: p. 38. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/archive/1999/0515/Pg038.html#Ar03805. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  37. ^ Marks, Kathy (15 December 1997). "Eh-oh! Can I have a terrorist for Christmas?". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/ehoh-can-i-have-a-terrorist-for-christmas-1288933.html. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 

External links

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