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St. Patrick’s Day Irish Music Suggestions

Irish music

The Harp – image credit: Flickr: jamesjordan

The biggest day on the Irish calendar is almost upon us. March 17th is celebrated in style all over the world, and is without doubt the day that most Irish people look forward to more than any other. We celebrate it in numerous ways – parties, parades, drinks, decor, costumes etc – but the one thing that is present at almost every St. Patrick’s day celebration, is Irish music.

A lot of music is loosely defined as “Irish”, but when you look at the bands and artists who ply their trade in the Irish music genre, a lot of them are quite different from each other. You have some that play old Irish ballads, you have the heavy rock, and in between you have a long list of musicians who play a very identifiable brand of Irish music, a style that’ll easily get you to your feet, especially after a little Dutch courage!

I look forward to St. Patrick’s day every year. I love the festivities, the buzz around the house during the day, and the activities that play out for a few days on the lead up to the big day. I would have to say that Irish music plays a big part in all this. On a normal day, there’s usually some Irish music to be heard when I’m the designated DJ, but on St. Paddy’s day, I have it on the go all day.

I have my Irish music playlist ready in advance for St. Patrick’s day this year, and I’m going to share what I’ll be listening to throughout the day with you now.

My Irish Music Playlist for St. Patrick’s Day

I plan to start the day off with some of the older Irish music that I grew up with. A few tunes that we’d know back home as golden oldies. Ronnie Drew’s Dubliners are in there with quite a few tracks; In The Rare Old Times, Whiskey In the Jar and The Irish Rover are a few favorites. The Chieftains will get some airtime – a traditional Irish band that have been around since the 1960’s. They play a huge collection of instrumental music, relying heavily on pipes and percussion. Try them out if you haven’t already. We’ll have Paddy Reilly on for a couple of old favs (The Town I Loved So Well and the Fields of Athenry), and The Clancy Brothers will get their chance to entertain us too.

As the day goes on a little I plan to break out a little bit of livelier music – something to get the kids going (maybe they’ll burn off some energy). We’ll throw on some Sharon Shannon (have you ever seen an accordion played like that?!), blast out some De Danann, listen to some Danú, and we might even throw on a Riverdance DVD to get the dancin’ started!

In the early evening I’ll start playing some of the more modern Irish artists; the likes of Sinead O’Connor, U2, Thin Lizzy, Christy Moore, Van Morrison and The Script, all of which are well represented on my iPod. With the exception of Christy, that list may not be considered to fit in to the stereotypical “Irish Music” genre, but they are all Irish, and they bring back fond memories of home for me.

With the kids in bed, and the whiskey flowing, it’ll be time to break out the Irish party music. Here we’ll have Flogging Molly, The Young Dubliners, The Irish Rovers and no St. Patrick’s Day will ever be complete without the amazing music of The Pogues.

As the night draws to an end, sentiment towards dear old Ireland will be high, I’ll be missing home probably more so than I do at any other time of the year, and at this stage of the day there’ll be only one band that’ll have music that’s fit for the occasion – The Wolfe Tones. I’m a fan of most of their music; the history lesson-like rebel songs, the beautiful ballads, the lively numbers, and the thought-provoking renditions of factual events from Irish history, such as those you’ll hear in James Connolly, Sean South and Joe McDonnell. Brian Warfield and the boys will put the perfect finish on my St. Patrick’s day. I’ll sip a couple of Guinness listening to my old favorites, and I’ll head off to bed dreaming of the good old days back home…

It’s not too late to bolster your own Irish music collection in time for Paddy’s day. You can grab a few digital downloads of Irish Music from iTunes, or take a look at what Amazon.com has to offer.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

What bands/artists will you be listening to? Introduce me to a couple of your own favorites in the comments below.


  1. Eileen Heneghan Stout

    Gaelic Storm, The Drovers and Celtic Pink Floyd. We try to catch Gaelic Storm every St Patricks weekend at House of Blues, they are one amazing live band. “Before the night is over” is a great song to end an evening of drinking or The Drovers “When Fortune Turns her Wheel” – Kathleen Keane does a beautiful version of that song. Marian Tomas Griffin does a crazy awesome celtic version of Floyds “Young Lust”, really the whole album is just fab.

    • Some good suggestions there Eileen. Never heard of the Drovers though – I’ll have to look them up.
      Happy St. Patrick’s Day

  2. Liam – I love your selection of music for St. Paddy’s Day. You really put together a great variety of different artists and music styles. Have a lovely St. Patrick’s Day. Best wishes,