Editor's Note: Irish Sign Language Day is observed on December 14, the day that Dáil Éireann approved the Irish Sign Language Act of 2017.

The Irish Sign Language Act, in short, provides for the recognition of Irish Sign Language by public bodies.

In observation of Irish Sign Language Day, we are resharing this story from 2018 where, for the first time in history, Ireland's national anthem "Amhrán na bhFiann" ("The Soldiers Song") was performed by a deaf choir and a piper from Ireland’s Defence Forces band.

The historic performance took place at Leinster House in July 2018 at the launch of an all-party report on the status, treatment, and use of Ireland's national anthem.

The report proposed that formal recognition of Ireland's national anthem be given by way of the introduction of the first-ever set of protocols in relation to the use of the anthem.

The protocols would include the versions of the national anthem in Irish, English, and Irish Sign Language, as well as the musical notation as provided by the Irish Defence Forces School of Music.

Author of the Seanad Public Consultation Committee report, Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, told RTÉ: "Next year [being 2019] is the 110th anniversary of the writing of the national anthem by Peadar Kearney.

"In 2013, the National Anthem fell out of copyright protection, so we looked at the issues around its proper to make sure it wasn't used inappropriately.

"We came up with protocols so all citizens are aware of the proper use and treatment of the National Anthem."

These protocols will include versions of the anthem in Irish, English, and Irish Sign Language, as well as the musical notation by the Irish Defence Forces School of Music.

Daly added: “Last December, we passed the Irish Sign Language recognition bill for the deaf community.

"Alain Newstead, a student from Bishopstown Community School in Cork, came into the Seanad public consultation. He said he felt excluded as a citizen of this State and a member of the deaf community as there was no sign language version of the national anthem."

Watch: @fiannafailparty Senator @SenatorMarkDaly explains the background to today's first official performance of today's Irish Sign Language version of Amhrán na bhFiann pic.twitter.com/LmyPYrraaz

— RTÉ Politics (@rtepolitics) July 17, 2018

Also present at the event was Conal Kearney, the grandson of Peadar Kearney, who penned the lyrics to Ireland’s national anthem.

He told RTÉ his grandfather would have been hugely proud today "on such a historic moment."

Kearney added: "I believe it was a privilege to see for the first time the Irish Sign Language version of 'Ámhrán na bhFiann' / 'The Soldier's Song.'

"It was a very proud and emotional moment."

* Originally published in July 2018. Last updated in December 2023.