In Ár Gcroíthe Go Deo

Album: Skinty Fia (2022)
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  • In summer 2020, all five Fontaines D.C. members emigrated from their native Dublin to London. A few months before their move, the band's shared anxieties about transporting themselves to English shores were exacerbated when they came across a story in The Irish Post about the late Margaret Keane, who died in July 2018. An Irish woman who had moved to Coventry when young, Margaret Keane lived in the English city for most of her life before dying aged 73. Her family wanted to commemorate her Irish heritage by having the words "in ár gCroíthe go deo" – which translates as "in our hearts forever" – engraved on her gravestone. However, the consistory court of the Diocese of Coventry ruled that the Gaelic phrase risked being mistaken for a political slogan, so they refused to allow it.

    "That was really upsetting for all of us as Irish people," Fontaines frontman Grian Chatten told The Sunday Times. "To be reading that in this day and age? That the Irish language was still perceived as too provocative to put on a gravestone? But none of us reacted with loud, punky fists."

    Instead, they responded with this melancholic track. "We don't want to remain a band who walk on stage and claim, 'This song is about this!' We want to make something more impressionistic," said Chatten.
  • After campaigning from Keane's daughters, a Church of England court overruled the decision in February 2021. Fontaines D.C. sent "In Ár Gcroíthe Go Deo" to the family, who played it for Margaret Keane at her grave.

    "The whole situation was very triggering for me. It broke my heart," Chatten told NME. "I want to say that the family's acknowledgment of the song is really validating, but it's not an award. All I care about is that we have their blessing to release the tune, which is the most important thing."
  • "In Ár Gcroíthe Go Deo" was the first song the Fontaines completed for Skinty Fia and one of two tracks they finished in Ireland before moving to London. A sense of displacement looms large on the album, which finds the band ruminating on what it means to be Irish in a foreign land. "It did set out a certain sound, but the topics only came to light once we'd all emigrated and we'd got a little bit of perspective on Ireland," bassist Conor Deegan told HMV.
  • Deegan and guitarist Conor Curly sing harmony vocals on the eerie, mournful track. "It's a very strange song to play," Deegan admitted to Mojo magazine. "We were actually laughing when we were writing it. It was me and Curley singing this minor harmony like Choirboys, singing in Irish. When the drums come in, there's a moment of hope and uplift."


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