“Be Thou My Vision” is an Irish hymn with the original poem being written from two Irish manuscripts in the library of the Royal Irish Academy. The poem had a possibility to be dated as early as the 8th century. The Irish text began with “Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride” and was translated into a literal prose, and it was actually a collaborative effort. Usually what we find with older hymns is, before they actually came to the hymnals we see today, they were indeed collaborative efforts. There seems to be a process in which hymns are written. If they are written in another language they first are translated in a literal form, then usually through a collaborative effort, turned into a hymn. It is truly a beautiful and time-consuming effort. Hymns are poetic, and just as “Be Thou My Vision” is, most hymns flow nicely and it’s always clear that they have been well crafted.1
Another interesting story about this hymn in particular is was included in a number of British hymnals after its initial Irish publication. The hymn was written under the influence of Irish culture, but it became appealing to all kinds of cultures. It captivated a lot of attention after World War II and interestingly enough, became the “standard hymn” to most hymnals today. There must have been something special about the structure and heart posture behind this hymn to be the example to follow for other hymnists. Something distinct about this hymn is its theme to reflect the heroic nature of God. This poem cast God as the ‘chieftain’ also known as, ‘High Kin,” and was written resembling the form of a “protection prayer.”1

Brief biological overview of Saint Dallan Forgaill
Dallan Forgaill was also known as Dallan Forchella, Dallan of Cluain Dallain and was born as Eochaid Forchella. His many names resulted from various family nicknames that were passed down to him as well as certain instances that happened to him throughout his life. He actually studied so vigorously that he lost his sight, resulting in his nickname “Dallan” or “little blind one.” He was an Irish Christian poet born in modern day Ballyconnell in Cavan County in the early centuries, and is the author of the poem and well-known hymn, “Be Thou My Vision.” He was a first cousin of Saint Mogue, and was a fourth cousin of Saint Tigernach of Clones, so he came from a family of believers. Dallan was a poet, Chief Ollam of Ireland, as well as a scholar of Latin scriptural learning. He was born in year 530 and died in year 598 and was said to be martyred and beheaded; however it was reported that God reattached his head to his body after the occurrence.2
A brief overview of Hymn Composers
Van Morrison was one of the three composers contributing to “Be Thou My Vision.” He was born on August 31, 1945 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has composed various genres of music including rock, rhythm-and-blues, and obviously some Christian. He started listening to records when he was two to three years old, and at year 15 he dropped out of school to pursue a music career. He had been hired full-time to work with a band called the Monarchs, which gave him experience. He then ended up going on tour with the Monarchs through Europe. He eventually, at age 19, started his own R&B style band; launching his music career.3
Michael Card is a much more devoted Christian composer and artist; having recorded over 37 million albums, authored over 27 books, hosted a radio program, and written for a large variety of magazines. He is from the States, and graduated from Western Kentucky University where he earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in biblical studies. He has even earned up to a multiple PhD’s in music and Christian education. In everything he does, Card seeks to glorify and honor God and dedicated his life clearly to the music and Christian education ministry. He seeks to “reach people where they are” and get them to join into community. Writing over 19 #1 hits, he was very humbled by the platform God gave him and actually did not have this in mind at all.4
Dallan Forgaill was the third composer, whom I wrote a biography about in the opening paragraphs.
Other Interesting facts
To conclude, a couple God-honoring things that have been said about the Irish Hymn is in many churches, it is a humble prayer sung unto the Lord and actually began simply as that; a medieval Irish prayer. James Smith III couldn’t have explained the hymn better and said, “‘Be Thou My Vision’ is a vehicle for praise and worship. It offers a singular voice of fierce devotion rooted in medieval Celtic Christianity that is still relevant today.”