Rita Connolly: I Arise Today

The video has Rita Connolly singing a Shaun Davey song at the inauguration of Michael Higgins, the ninth president of Ireland in November 2011. The words are from the early St Patrick’s Breastplate via Cecil Frances Alexander and the German linguist and Celtic philologist Kuno Meyer.

Many Irish versions exist:

Críost liom, Críost romham, Críost ‘mo dhiaidh,
Críost ionam, Críost fúm, Críost os mo chionn,
Críost ar mo dheis, Críost ar mo chlé,
Críost i gcroí gach aoinne smaoiníos orm,
Críost i mbéal gach aoinne labhraíos liom,
Críost i ngach súil a dhearcas orm,
Críost i ngach cluais a chluineas mé.


Críost liom, Críost romham,
Críost i mo dhiaidh, Críost istigh ionam,
Críost fúm, Críost os mo chionn,
Críost ar mo lámh dheas, Críost ar mo chlé,

Críost i mo lúi dom, Críost i mo sheasamh,
Críost i ngach gcrói ag cuimhneamh orm,
Críost i ngach mbéal, Críost i ngach súil,
Críost i ngach cluas, a éisteann liom.


Críost liom, Críost romham,
Críost im dhiadh,
Críost ar mo chion-sa, agus Críost fúm,
Críost ina chónai i mo chroí-se,
Críost fós ó dheas díom, Críost ó thuaidh.

An early version of the lyrics can be found at the University of California (Davis) website. A medieval Irish version can be found on Wikisource. The second video is unfortunately unaccredited and unattributed, but has interesting photos and lyrics.

Rita Connolly (singer): :
I arise today, through the strength of heaven;
light of sun, radiance of moon,
splendor of fire, speed of lightning,
swiftness of wind, depth of the sea,
stability of earth, firmness of rock.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me;

God’s eye to look before me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
from all who shall wish me ill, afar and a-near
alone and in a multitude.

Against every cruel merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise, Christ to shield me.

Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,

I arise today…….

Michael D. Higgins: Inauguration Speech

Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland on November 11, 2011. The transcript is from the Irish Times.com website.

Michael D Higgins: Muintir na hÉireann and friends of Ireland at home and abroad, there can be no greater honour than to have been elected Uachtarán na hÉireann – President of Ireland. I thank you the people of Ireland for the honour you have bestowed upon me and I accept and appreciate the great responsibilities of that office.

Citizens of Ireland, you have chosen me to be your ninth President, to represent you at home and abroad, and to serve as a symbol of an Irishness of which we can all be proud.

An Irishness which is carried by every citizen and which we must recall and forge anew together.

I enter the ninth Presidency with a sense of humility, but also with confidence in the great capacity of our people, the people of Ireland, not only to transcend present difficulties but to realise all of the wonderful possibilities that I believe await us in the years ahead.

I wish to acknowledge the immense contribution of those who have previously served in this office, particularly the two great women who have immediately preceded me.

They have made contributions that developed our consciousness of human rights, inclusion, and the important task of deepening and sustaining peace within and between communities in every part of our Island. It is work I will endeavour to continue and build upon.

As your President, I am grateful for the extent of the support, the strong mandate, you have given me. I also realise the challenges that I face, that we face together, in closing a chapter that has left us fragile as an economy, but most of all wounded as a society, with unacceptable levels of unemployment, mortgage insecurity, collapsing property values and many broken expectations. During my campaign for the Presidency, I encountered that pain particularly among the most vulnerable of our people.

However, I also recognise the will of all of our people to move beyond anger, frustration or cynicism and to draw on our shared strengths. To close the chapter on that which has failed, that which was not the best version of ourselves as a people, and open a new chapter based on a different version of our Irishness – will require a transition in our political thinking, in our view of the public world, in our institutions, and, most difficult of all, in our consciousness.

In making that transformation, it is necessary to move past the assumptions which have failed us and to work together for such a different set of values as will enable us to build a sustainable social economy and a society which is profoundly ethical and inclusive. A society and a state which will restore trust and confidence at home and act as a worthy symbol of Irishness abroad, inviting relationships of respect and co-operation across the world.

We must seek to build together an active, inclusive citizenship; based on participation, equality, respect for all and the flowering of creativity in all its forms. A confident people is our hope, a people at ease with itself, a people that grasps the deep meaning of the proverb ‘ní neart go cur le chéile’ – our strength lies in our common weal – our social solidarity.

Sin iad mór-théamaí na hUachtaránachta atá curtha romham agam, agus mé lán-dóchasach go bhfuilimid ar tháirseach ré nua d’Éirinn agus d’Éireannaigh, sa bhaile agus i gcéin. Ré nua ina mbeidh bunluacha na cothroime agus an chirt, agus spiorad na cruthaíochta, faoi bhláth: poblacht, a mbeidh Éireannaigh de gach aicme agus traidisiún bródúil aisti.

My Presidency will be a Presidency of transformation, recognising and building on the many positive initiatives already under way in communities, in the economy, and in individual and collective efforts throughout our land. It will be a Presidency that celebrates all of our possibilities. It will seek to be of assistance and encouragement to investment and job creation, to innovation and original thinking – a Presidency of ideas – recognising and open to new paradigms of thought and action. It will aspire to turn the best of ideas into living realities for all of our people, realising our limitless possibilities – ár feidireachtaí gan teorainn.

In implementing the mandate you have given me, I will seek to achieve an inclusive citizenship where every citizen participates and everyone is treated with respect. I will highlight and support initiatives for inclusion across Ireland and also make it a priority to visit and to support the participation of the most excluded in our society, including those in institutional care.

I will champion creative communities who are bringing about positive change at local level by giving recognition to their achievements on the national stage. I believe that when we encourage the seedbed of creativity in our communities and ensure that each child and adult has the opportunity for creative expression, we also lay the groundwork for sustainable employment in creative industries and enrich our social, cultural and economic development.

In promoting inclusion and creativity, I will be inviting all citizens, of all ages, to make their own imaginative and practical contribution to the shaping of our shared future.

Active citizenship requires the will and the opportunity to participate at every level and in every way – to be the arrow; not the target.

Next year Bunreacht na hÉireann is 75 years old and a Constitutional Convention is planned by Government. As President, I encourage all citizens, of all ages, at home and abroad to take the opportunity of engaging with this important review as an opportunity to reflect on where we have come from and on how we might see ourselves into the future.

During my Presidency, I also intend to hold a number of Presidency Seminars which may reflect and explore themes important to our shared life yet separate and wider than legislative demand, themes such as the restoration of trust in our institutions, the ethical connection between our economy and society, the future of a Europe built on peace, social solidarity and sustainability.

The first of these seminars will focus on being young in Ireland. It will address issues of participation, education, employment, emigration and mental health. I hope also that the seminars during the next seven years might encompass consideration of global issues, stressing the importance of the ethical connection between politics, economy, development and society.

In preparing for my Presidency, I recognise that our long struggle for freedom has produced a people who believe in the right of the individual mind to see the world in its own way and indeed that individual innovation and independence of mind has given Ireland many distinguished contributors in culture and science, often insufficiently celebrated.

However, in more recent years, we saw the rise of a different kind of individualism – closer to an egotism based on purely material considerations – that tended to value the worth of a person in terms of the accumulation of wealth rather then their fundamental dignity. That was our loss, the source in part, of our present difficulties. Now it is time to turn to an older wisdom that, while respecting material comfort and security as a basic right of all, also recognises that many of the most valuable things in life cannot be measured.

Our successes after all in the eyes of so many in the world have been in the cultural and spiritual areas – in our humanitarian, peace-building and human rights work – in our literature, art, drama and song – and in how that drama and song have helped us cope with adversity, soothed the very pain which they describe so well, and opened the space for new possibilities.

Our arts celebrate the people talking, singing, dancing and ultimately communing with each other. This is what James Connolly meant when he said that: “Ireland without her people means nothing to me”. Connolly took pride in the past but, of course, felt that those who excessively worshipped that past were sometimes seeking to escape from the struggle and challenge of the present. He believed that Ireland was a work in progress, a country still to be fully imagined and invented – and that the future was exhilarating precisely in the sense that it was not fully knowable, measurable.

The demands and the rewards of building a real and inclusive Republic in its fullest sense remains as a challenge for us all, but it is one we should embrace together.

A decade of commemorations lies ahead – a decade that will require us to honestly explore and reflect on key episodes in our modern history as a nation; that will require us to draw on the ethics and politics of memory in such a way as will enable us not only to be sensitive to differing and incomplete versions of that history, but also to remain open to the making of reconciliation or to the acceptance of different versions of aspects and events of memory if required.

A common shared future built on the spirit of co-operation, the collective will and real participation in every aspect of the public world is achievable and I believe we can achieve it together. In our rich heritage some of our richest moments have been those that turned towards the future and a sense of what might be possible. It is that which brought us to independence. It is that which has enabled us to overcome adversity and it is that which will enable us to transcend our present difficulties and celebrate the real Republic which is ours for the making.

Every age, after all, must have its own Aisling and dream of a better, kinder, happier, shared world.

Ní díomas ach dóchas a bheidh ag teastáil uainn ins na blianta dúshlánacha atá amach romhainn. Dóchas as ár n-oighreacht shaibhir, as ár ndúchas iolrach; dóchas as ár n-acmhainn samhlaíochta agus cruthaíochta; as an daonnacht choiteann a fáisceadh as stair chasta ár muintire i ngach cúinne d’Éirinn.

It is my wish to be a President for all of the Irish at home and abroad. We Irish have been a diasporic people for a great part of our history. The circumstances that have impelled – and that continue to impel – many citizens to seek employment and a better life elsewhere, are not ordained by some mysterious hand of fate. They challenge our capacity to create a sustainable and prosperous economy and an inspiring model of the good society. We, in our time, must address the real circumstances that generate involuntary emigration, and resolve that in the years ahead we will strive with all our energy and intellect, with mind and heart to create an Ireland which our young people do not feel they have to leave and to which our emigrants, or their children, may wish, in time,

to return to work and live in dignity and prosperity. I invite all of the Irish, wherever they may be across the world, to become involved with us in that task of remaking our economy and society.

Agus, ár muintir atá lonnaithe i dtíortha ar fuaid an domhain mhóir, bíodh a gcás, a gcearta agus a ngaiscí siúd ar ár n-aire againn. Tá rian a saothair agus a ndíograis fágtha acu ar gach tír inar lonnaigh siad: ar an gcultúr polaitíochta agus creidimh, sna réimsí oideachais agus sláinte, san eolaíocht, san saol gnó agus sna h-ealaíona ar fad: agus i ngluaiseachtaí éagsúla ar son chearta daonna agus dínit an duine. Ní suarach iad na gaiscí seo mar thaisce inspioráide dúinne sa bhaile.

Let these, then, be our shared hopes, our common purpose, as we face the future.

We Irish are a creative, resourceful, talented and warm people, with a firm sense of common decency and justice. Let us address the next seven years with hope and courage as we work together to build the future for our country –an Ireland we all feel part of, an Ireland we all feel proud of.

Muintir na hÉireann, ar aghaidh linn le chéile leis an dóchas agus an misneach sin a bhí is ba choir a bheith i gcónaí in ár gcroí.

Michael D Higgins: Acceptance Speech

Michael D Higgins was elected ninth President of Ireland on October 27, 2011. You can view a visualization of the key words from the speech here on the Many Eyes website, based on a transcript by Molonesi.

Watch the Youtube video for the full speech including the introduction in Irish.

I will be a president for all the people and from this moment I will cease to be a member and president of the Labour Party, a party which has informed my thinking and the ethos of my life, a party the centenary of whose founding by James Connolly and James Larkin will be celebrated next year.

For the presidency is an independent office and the Irish people, which I appreciate so much and I take with such responsibility, have given a very clear mandate on a very clear set of ideas to me as the ninth president.

I would like to thank, as I said, sincerely those who voted for me, but also I acknowledge those who voted for the other candidates who during a long and difficult campaign offered many valuable suggestions which I hope to include and encompass over the next seven years.

And I want to be a president too for those who didn’t vote, whose trust in public institutions I will encourage and work to recover. And always in my mind too will be those who have gone away, and I will be their president too.

The oath I will take when I’m inaugurated, ‘Mo lándícheall a dhéanamh ar son leasa is fónaimh mhuintir na hÉireann – I dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland’, is a great responsibility.[Irish: “and I accept this challenge fully in these difficult times we are experiencing.”]

The mandate I have received and for which I will seek with heart and head to implement over the next seven years had its four pillars in an inclusive citizenship, which is about equality, participation and respect. In a creative society, creative and excellent in everything we Irish do, making an Irishness to be proud of in a real republic.

This was a vision of a real republic where life and language, where ideals and experience, have the ring of authenticity, which we need now as we go forward.

And during a long campaign, which for me, as I have said, was almost 14 months since I first sought a nomination from the Labour Party, I saw and felt and feel the pain of the Irish people.

I recognise the need for a reflection on those values and assumptions often carelessly taken that have brought us to such a sorry pass in social and economic terms, for which such a high price has been paid and is being paid.

I recognise the righteous anger but I also saw the need for healing and to move past recrimination.

I love our shared island, our shared Ireland, and its core decencies. I love it for its imagination and its celebration of the endless possibilities for our people.

That are there for the achieving as we leave behind a narrow individualism that valued the person for what was assumed to be their accumulated wealth but neglected the connection between the person, the social, the community and the nation.

That is what we all leave behind now, for which a million people gave me a mandate. Now we must respond collectively and co-operatively to what we all must recognise as our shared problems, be it unemployment, mortgage distress or any form of exclusion.

We must now work to our strengths at home and abroad, not only co-operatively and collectively but sustainably for the benefit of all of our present generations and those to come.

The necessary transformation of which I speak and of which my presidency will be a part is built on turning creative possibilities into living realities for all our people, and I believe – this was the wonderful thing about going round the country so often – I believe and recognise that that transformation has already begun.

I saw it in one community after another, be it in those who are creating strategies with and for the unemployed; those working in care, those working in pre-school and after-school class, those great citizens. Everywhere good people have commenced a journey to a version of Irishness of which we can be proud.

And this campaign, we must never forget, involved a choice as to which version of Irishness we would choose for the next seven years, as what we wanted as ourselves at home and abroad. This necessary transformation, which has now begun, will I hope result in making the values of equality, respect and participation in an active citizenship the characteristic of the next seven years. The reconnection of society, economy and ethics is a project we cannot postpone.

I have encountered in this long campaign an enthusiasm for an Irishness that will be built on recognising again those sources from which spring the best of our reason and curiosity.

But even more important is the powerful instinct for decency which must be at the heart of a real republic: the celebration of the power of the collective in pursuit of the best of ourselves.

And based too on the power of culture, science and technology, delivered through the contemporary genius of our people.

Ireland has made its choice for the future and it has chosen the version of Irishness it will be. I know and I will work with head and heart to be part with all of you in creating that future, one in which all of us can be part of and proud too.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh…[Thank you very much]