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Dancing in the street as Seo Linn and ambassador hail cyclists with Irish Roar

Published 12/06/2016

Seo Linn, the band behind the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 anthem (Seo Linn/PA)
Seo Linn, the band behind the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 anthem (Seo Linn/PA)

The roar of the Irish could be heard on the streets of Paris as a top diplomat was cheered on for dancing a jig before declaring: "Allez les verts!"

The ambassador of Ireland to France, Geraldine Byrne Nason, and Seo Linn - the band behind the Republic's official Euro 2016 anthem - welcomed dozens of cyclists at the Irish Embassy with a display of traditional song and dance.

More than 70 people arrived on their bikes on Sunday afternoon at the French capital's Irish HQ, with many having set off from the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday.

Seo Linn, whose Irish language translations of songs have gone viral online, stirred passion with their tune The Irish Roar, prompting the ambassador to dance on the street with Billy Glennon, chairman of the charity Mustard Seed that the big cycle was in aid of.

Speaking inside afterwards, Ms Byrne Nason said: "I think I can easily say that without fear of being contradicted that I've never had such a moment of celebration on the street outside the embassy.

"And wherever Billy is, I've never been swept off my feet like that."

She finished by saying: "Without further ado, I want us just to say that we're here for two more sentences from me.

"One is 'Allez les Verts!' And the other is of course 'Come on you boys in green!'"

Seo Linn entertained the cyclists inside the embassy and led the crowd in singing the Irish anthem - just a day before the Republic's opening game against Sweden.

The band's official football anthem features the traditional song Oro Se do Bheatha 'Bhaile - one of the most loved tunes in the Irish language and a popular song at the time of the Easter Rising in 1916.

The Irish Roar looks back at the team over the past 26 years and pays tribute to one of Ireland's best-loved sports anchors, Bill O'Herlihy, who died last year.

Stiofan O Fearail, the group's lead singer from County Roscommon, said there has been a "great buzz" since the song came out and says they are soaking up the atmosphere.

He said the band intends to play music around Paris, telling the Press Association: "Everything is very unofficial. We're just carrying the instruments around. We're going to see where we can go in and play and play and play and play, and a bit of craic. We're looking forward to it."

The singer said they are reaching a new audience and have noticed a "massive influx of goodwill" which he says they are humbled by.

Seo Linn got together at the Gaeltacht - or Irish language summer school - and O Fearail said the language is "extremely close to our hearts".

Speaking about the inclusion of the traditional Irish song in their anthem, he said they have noticed that people are embracing it, adding: "It's a little bit of Irish that people are just engaging with, almost unbeknownst to themselves.

"And that's kind of the whole spin of Irish being a bit more modern - I suppose is what we're all about."

The charity cycle was a joint enterprise between the Football Association of Ireland and Mustard Seed, which is a charity dedicated to caring for disabled and abandoned children in Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Zimbabwe.

It took in hundreds of miles, taking in locations including Cherbourg, Caen, Le Mans, and Chartres.

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