Northern Ireland news

Eurovision winner Dana debuts new St Patrick's song

Dana performing Light The Fire with male voices from the Schola Cantorum from St Peter's Cathedral Belfast and singers from the Church of Ireland in Downpatrick at the launch of the new exhibition at the St Patrick's centre in Downpatrick. Picture Mal McCann.
Allan Preston

EUROVISION winner Dana has debuted a new song honouring St Patrick, with a special performance at the Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick.

Light The Fire was written and recorded by the Derry singer, and tells the story of how St Patrick lit the flame on a hill in Slane in 433AD, defying the High King Laoire at Tara.

Speaking ahead of the launch, she said it was a "courageous" act that could have cost him his life.

“Those were dark days. They were oppressive. There was human sacrifice," she said.

“The fire was symbolic of bringing light and bringing an understanding to what was wrong in those days and changing what was wrong from the darkness into light.”

The inspiration for the new song came from her late brother-in-law, Fr Kevin Scallon.

“He said, ‘You know we need a new hymn to St Patrick for today. Because the message of St Patrick is not belonging to a past generation and it’s not just for Ireland. It’s a message for today and for the whole world’.”

Saint Patrick Centre director Dr Tim Campbell said it was an honour to host the event, at the world's only permanent exhibition to Ireland's patron saint.

“It was here in Downpatrick that St Patrick began his mission,” he said.

“The centre is renowned for telling the authentic story of Patrick, the slave who found true freedom and whose message of love and faith continues to echo down the centuries. The song has a great message of hope and we look forward to sharing it both at home and abroad.”

The new song marks the reopening of the centre which features a redesigned exhibition, which received £200,000 of funding from Tourism Ireland.

Light The Fire was also recorded using male voices from the Schola Cantorum in St Peter's Cathedral, Belfast, as well as two voices from the Church of Ireland community in Downpatrick - the Rev Adrian Dorrian who is Vicar of the LAMP group of parishes, and John McGrahth from Down Parish Church.

Rev Dorrian said he hoped it would bring a fresh perspective to the life and message of St Patrick.

“It’s an exciting story and it’s a story that gets lost around St Patrick’s day sometimes. So I’m really excited to be part of something that just brings it out afresh and in a new way," he said.

Northern Ireland news