Library Blog

Irish Songs to Add to Your St. Patrick’s Day Playlist

Playing Irish mandolin guitar

Kick off your St. Paddy’s celebration with these classic Irish tunes!

St Patrick’s is a day to celebrate the very best parts of Irish culture — and what better way is there to do that than with some Irish music? Luckily, there are so many Irish songs that will get you in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit — and we’ve rounded up some of the best right here that are available at PLYMC or via Hoopla!

You’ll find a variety of different genres on our list to sham-rock out to, from catchy tunes by famous Irish artists and bands — like U2 and Van Morrison — to traditional Irish songs that have been recorded and re-interpreted many times over the years.

“Zombie” — The Cranberries 

The Cranberries were an Irish rock band formed in Limerick, Ireland, in 1989. Lead singer Dolores O’Riordan claimed that “Zombie” speaks about “the Irish fight for independence that seems to last forever.” Available on Hoopla on the Cranberries Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

“Where the Streets Have No Name” — U2  

This is a song by Irish rock band U2. The song is actually about Ireland (and Northern Ireland), where many cities are divided: rich/poor, Catholic/Protestant, etc. By knowing which street a person lives on you can tell their religion, wealth and beliefs: it’s where the streets have no name. The song is found on The Joshua Tree CD or Hoopla.

“Give Ireland Back to the Irish” — Paul McCartney & Wings

It was inspired by the Bloody Sunday shootings in January 1972. While McCartney was born in Liverpool, his family – like many others in the city – was of Irish descent, so he was affected by the events in Ireland. It’s a catchy track, with plenty of Beatles-esque touches. Found on Wings Wild Life CD.

“The Luck of the Irish” — John Lennon

An acoustic-guitar-driven waltz in the style of traditional Irish folk songs. Yoko Ono also sings a few verses with John. John Lennon had Irish ancestry through his father’s family, the Lennons. John’s grandparents were both born in Dublin, Ireland. Found in Hoopla in John Lennon’s Signature Box.

“Dirty Old Town” — The Pogues

Songwriter Ewan MacColl was born in Salford and wrote this song about his impressions of the city while growing up. Originally released on an Alan Lomax and the Ramblers album in 1956, it has since been on albums by the Dubliners, Rod Stewart, Roger Whittaker, Simple Minds, and the Pogues, to name just a few. The Pogues were an Anglo-Irish Celtic punk band. This song can be found via Hoopla on The Best of the Pogues.

“Brown Eyed Girl” — Van Morrison

Van Morrison grew up in Belfast. Most of his songs, including Cyprus Avenue, Glad Tidings, and Moondance, have an Irish heartbeat. Found on Van Morrison’s Moondance CD or Hoopla.

“Whiskey in the Jar” — Thin Lizzy

This traditional folk song was first made famous by the Dubliners in the 60s.  This version is by the Irish band Thin Lizzy. “Whiskey in the Jar,” a song about a notorious Irish highwayman Patrick Fleming who was hanged in 1650, has become Ireland’s oldest most beloved song, a true rebel air that stirs the passions. It is a great rock recording that will get any St. Pat’s party moving. It can be found in Hoopla on Thin Lizzy’s Dedication: The Very Best of Thin Lizzy.

“Galway Girl” — Celtic Thunder

The Galway Girl is one of the most popular and successful songs to emerge in Ireland in recent years and is based on a true incident involving a brief romantic encounter. It tells the semi-autobiographical story of the songwriter’s (Steve Earle) reaction to a beautiful black-haired blue-eyed girl he meets in Galway, Ireland. Celtic Thunder is an Irish singing group and stage show known for its eclectic, theatrical style show. This song and others can be found on Celtic Thunder’s Heritage CD.

“Breathless” — The Corrs 

The Corrs are an Irish family band that combine pop rock with traditional Irish themes within their music. The Corrs stand out today with Breathless, one of their best songs; it became their only UK chart-topper and biggest hit in the US. Found on Dreams: The Ultimate Corrs Collection via Hoopla.

“Danny Boy” — Celtic Woman 

Celtic Woman is an all-female Irish musical ensemble. This traditional song was based on a story about an Irish father whose son was eventually going off to war in Ireland. Some of the many artists who recorded this include Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, Patti LaBelle, Glenn Miller, The Pogues, and Elvis Presley. This version can be located on Celtic Woman’s self-titled CD from 2004.

If you would like to view and request more St. Patrick’s Day music:

Check out this list of Irish Music in our catalog, Bibliocommons.

If you would like to learn about fun things you can learn and do on St. Patrick’s Day:

Visit our blog on Preparing for St. Patrick’s Day Fun and Festivities.

If you would like to learn about St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland the namesake of St. Patrick’s Day:

Visit our blog on St. Patrick.

Mike

Mike is a Reader Services Librarian at the Main Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County. He is also an avid film and music lover. He hopes to inspire your movie and music choices, as well as to learn from you. Popular culture is his game and he’s willing to help you all the same. He is also a fan of baseball and football.