The LDN Guide – Irish Music

Words: Grainne Cromie

We’re still in the spirit of St Patrick’s Day, that’s why we want to showcase ten of the big singers and bands who made Ireland the next major music scene for artists in Europe.

1. Fontaines D.C- Boys In The Better Land

The heavy guitar and drum combo makes this a really good party song. The Fontaines thick Irish accent really adds to the aggression behind the lyrics which are very forceful. This song reminds me of being at an afters after one too many in the pub. It always seems to be playing in these kinds of situations. An Irish classic! 

2. The Wolfe Tones- Come Out Ye Black & Tans

This song really just speaks for itself. Any Irish night out ever will feature this song and it’s a tune where you can really scream it and mean it. A predominant tune in any Irish household and the words really speak to any Irish person, but I’ll not get into that!

3. The Pogues- Fiesta

‘Fiesta’ starts out slow, but once it gets going it’s undeniably an Irish anthem. It is classic Pogues and is used throughout Ireland as the music for various football chants. The hoarse voice of Shane MacGowan is not unfamiliar to any Irish person and his slurred words have become iconic. The last verse of the song is in Spanish, as the song is based on the Spanish city Almeria. The Pogues wrote this song as a gift for their former guitarist Cait O’Riordon. What a song to have written about you! An absolute tune.

4. Sinead O Connor and The Chieftans- The Foggy Dew

When it comes to classic Irish songs, this one is always the first one that comes to my mind. The tin whistle mixed with the suspended pedal note and the harrowing lyrics really encompass how it felt to be an Irish person during the troubles in the North. Sinead O’Connor’s sweet but strong voice never fails to bring me joy. A great song to sing along to with passion!

5. The Cranberries- Dreams

Most people will know this song as the intro to the tv show ‘Derry Girls’. But it’s been a household song in Ireland for a long time before that. Dreams is a must for St Patrick’s Day. The upbeat tune alongside the coming of age-esque lyrics are perfect for St Patrick’s Day as we look to the summer and everything we can achieve.

6. Mundy- Galway Girl (NOT Ed Sheeran)

This is an absolute must listen to for St Patricks Day. It’s one of the first songs I taught myself to play on guitar and is one of my all-time favourites. The actual music is just so quintessentially Irish with the call and answer style between the accordion and the vocals make it so easy to sing along to. This song just encapsulates every Irish wedding ever. It’s not an Irish wedding if it gets to 3am and someone is dragging you up to dance to this song! 

7. Thin Lizzy- Whiskey in the jar 

My number 1 memory of this song is sitting at Scór naNog ( an Irish traditional music competition) every year and listening to the same wee lad with a guitar give his rendition of this song. Every house party I’m asked to sing/ play at, this song is top of the list and there’s not a single person not singing along by the end. It really is a staple in song in every Irish household and I’ve never met an Irish person who doesn’t know every word! It’s not just A song for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s THE song.

8. My Little Honda 50- Christy Moore

A classic from Christy Moore. This song tells the story of an Irish man buying a ‘Honda 50’(a type of motorcycle) and how much he loves it. Like most older Irish men, this was my grandad’s favourite song and he use to play it constantly while we drove all around the green fields of Armagh and Louth. This song has been remixed many times and even the younger ‘tangs’ love it. I think the storytelling style really adds to the Irishness of it, because it’s exactly the way an old man would talk about his Honda 50 if you met him on the street! 

9. The Horslips – Trouble (with a Capital T)

Trouble is a song I play when I’m feeling homesick. It does a really good job of mixing Irish traditional music with modern rock. It’s an absolute tune that you can dance to and also sing which is rare with some Irish music. The rebellious lyrics really encapsulate what it was like to be Irish during the introduction of the British army as a lot of very normal things, like buying food and bringing it over the border, was seen as a crime. So they felt like trouble was ‘chasing them’. A tune!

 10. Enya- Only Time (Remix)

Obviously, we had to leave the best to last. This is a coming of age song that talks about how we as people do not know what tomorrow brings. But as the old adage goes, ‘time reveals all truths’. And that’s fundamentally the idea which “Only Time” is based on. The whimsical lyrics alongside Enya’s haunting tone make this song a really comfortable listen.