Last weekend, the Irish rugby team recorded one of their most famous victories ever at a Rugby World Cup by beating South Africa 8-13 in Paris.
It was a monumental feat in a game for the ages. The Irish team held firm in the face of the Springboks' persistence in the Stade de France, and the Irish team's success will never be forgotten by anyone who watched the historic game.
However, the game has been overshadowed by the debate around the song Zombie by the The Cranberries
The song, which is regularly sung at Munster Rugby matches in a nod to The Cranberries connection to Limerick and is also heard at Limerick's hurling games, became the centre of attention.
Last weekend, viral videos of Irish fans singing the song could be seen aplenty on social media sites on X and Instagram. The players could also be seen singing the chants in the aftermath.
The song, which is seen as an anti-IRA stance in response to a bombing campaign carried out in Britain at the height of The Troubles, obviously has its original meaning and message attached to it. Its lyrics make reference to 1916, tanks, and lost children, and it is a blanket anti-war songs
"But you see, it's not me. It's not my family. In your head, in your head, they are fighting. With their tanks and their bombs. And their bombs and their guns. In your head, in your head, they are crying," read the lyrics
The song at this Rugby World Cup for Irish fans has become an unofficial rugby anthem at games and created a debate much like Celtic Symphony of the Wolfe Tones does every time someone mentions or sings the chant.
It's clear that O'Riordan intended to cause a stir, but for many who sing it, they are not intending to stoke up trouble or reignite past ugly behaviours that haunted the north of Ireland all those years ago.
"Rugby fans are singing Zombie because they know the words. I think it’s the same with people singing along to the Wolfe Tones. There’s no deep meaning to it. Most of us have sung along to songs at some point without a second thought about what any of the lyrics mean," Irish reporter Barry Whyte said on X
While others took a different view of the chant. "Zombie is the perfect partitionist anthem. It encapsulates the complete lack of understanding or even basic compassion in the south for the lived experience of Northern nationalists. But you see, it's not me. It's not my family," said Irish comedian Tadhg Hickey.
Ireland's victory in Paris was a chance to celebrate a momentous win, but the attempt to politicise people's choice of songs is tiresome and needs to end. It's not the first time it's happened and it won't be the last.
Let's not get it twisted, there are people who do not want to be reminded of those dark days; however, the people who sang the anthem in Paris are not trying to evoke those dark days by way of provocation, they have other things to worry about.
The Irish Rugby team is on the cusp of something special in France, and for that achievement to be overshadowed by the debate around what people can and cannot sing should be way down the list of what people should be upset about.
Rugby was the winner on Saturday and that should have been the case, but sadly Ireland's feat got overshadowed.
At the end of the day, Irish fans in France were trying to have a good time. The song in the moment had no other meaning than it being ridiculously catchy. The song will be sung again, and nobody should take umbrage with the fact that people just want to enjoy themselves. Isn't that what we all want at the end of the day?
Irish fans singing Zombie in unison during the Rugby World Cup in France. pic.twitter.com/yf9Gw35C3j
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) September 25, 2023