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Five Bands to Listen to on St. Patrick’s Day

Five Bands to Listen to on St. Patrick’s Day

Craic Agus Ceol (fun and music)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you have a chance to celebrate the holiday today, you may want to add some music to the experience. I am a longtime fan of Irish music and I’m happy to provide a few recommendations.

Ireland has produced great musicians in all genres but for the sake of this list, I’m going to focus in the traditional music of Ireland. Here are five solid choices in no particular order.

The Chieftains

This band has been around since the 1960’s and has played all over the world for various heads of state. I saw them live in Philadelphia years ago and they were amazing. This is a set they did with some friends at a pub which is owned by their flute player, Matt Molloy.

This is one of their older classics called Away We Go Again.

The Dubliners

This is another group which got started in the 1960’s and is included on every list of greatest Irish folk bands. This classic tune is called The Rocky Road to Dublin.

Here’s another classic called Whiskey in the Jar.


This is a slightly more contemporary group which was formed in the 1990’s but still works in traditional arrangements and instruments. I saw them live once in Somerville, MA. They put on a great show. This song is called Bealtaine.

This song is called Morning Nightcap.


Clannad is a little different than the other bands on this list. This isn’t pub music but I wanted to include them for their use of the Irish language in their music. They have a truly unique and haunting sound. This song is called Caisleáin Óir.

This is one of their better known songs which has actually been used in some commercials and films. It’s called the Theme from Harry’s Game.

The Pogues

No list of Irish music on St. Patrick’s Day would be complete without The Pogues. This is the band you want to listen to tonight while enjoying a few pints. Here’s their classic song If I Should Fall From Grace With God.

This is a classic called Streams of Whiskey.

BONUS TRACK: This is a video taken flying over Ireland, soundtrack provided by the Bothy Band.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Featured image via YouTube.


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Good choices. I also like The Poor Cousins.

Clannad is one of my favorite groups. Thanks for the great post, Mike. When I am not listening to Bollywood, Celtic music is my go-to groove.

Have a blessed St. Patrick’s Day!

Love the Dubliners. The Irish Rovers are great too.

meh. luke bryan/thomas rhett/kenny chesney/similar work for me on all days 🙂

    huh I just noticed the tags culture and ireland were used here.
    that don’t add up.
    LOL been pissing my irish wife off all day long too….I am scottish/englich/french mixtures 🙂

      Ragspierre in reply to dmacleo. | March 17, 2018 at 10:20 pm

      You go back far enough, and we’re all related.

      Dublin was a Viking city. Highland Scots were Vikings who raided and stuck.

      The Normans were high-tech Vikings.

      The Scots and the French entered into “The Olde Treaty”, and were more united with France than England for centuries. Brittany in France is a VERY Celtic region, and still holds a piping tradition.

Morning Sunshine | March 17, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Have you heard Seo Linn sing “Óró Sé do Bheatha Bhaile”

One of our favorite songs. It made my daughter decide to learn Irish for her foreign language this year. We also love the Wolfe Tones around here. And the Gothard Sisters (not Irish, but they are amazing on the Bodhrain)

Politics aside, you got to listen to Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly!

Not traditional Irish, but here’s Debroah Henson-Conant on the Celtic harp singing her song “Nightengale”:

Here’s one that like Clannad is a little different. I ran across Nolwenn from a blog post speculating on how pre-Chaucer English might sound to us using a different song than this.


Áine Minogue is THE Irish harpist, in my book. Check out her work at

Mike, terrific list – thank you and sláinte!

OwenKellogg-Engineer | March 17, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Solar is a band that can’t be missed. Take a listen:

OwenKellogg-Engineer | March 17, 2018 at 3:32 pm

I just love autoincorrect. The name of the band is Solas. Now since I am reposting, here is another tune of theirs….

I recently stumbled across the Pogues ( which are described as an Irish Punk Band ) through this:
which really is quite excellent.

I’ve seen people describe this as the best Chirstmas song, though I wouldn’t classify it as wsuch, since Christmas is really only peripheral to it.

    LibraryGryffon in reply to RodFC. | March 17, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    My favorite Irish christmas(ish) album is “Drive the Cold Winter Away” by Horslips.

Gura maith agat, Mike. Micheál as Dun Na nGall agus Florida. Oorah!!

    Max Modine in reply to Max Modine. | March 17, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Eireann 24 – An Sassenach 15 @ Twickenham and Ireland lands the Grand Slam!! Best St. Patrick’s Day gift ever. Oorah!!

LibraryGryffon | March 17, 2018 at 7:47 pm

I’ll recommend the Bothy Band. I saw them live in’76 or ’77 in Galway. Matt Malloy was playing with them then, and the Chieftans had a different flautist.

St. Paddy’s day requires the watching of “The Silent Man”. It was Hollywood’s homage to Ireland, and was a great piece of time-capture.

From my husband who has collected this kind of music for at least 40 years:

“What, no Bothy Band? no Altan? I would replace the Chieftans and the Pogues.

A faulty and incomplete list. The author is obviously misguided.”

If you haven’t given a listen to Lorena McKennitt out of Canada, do yourself a favor and listen.

Also, in the San Diego/LA area there’s a local group: The Browne Sisters & George Kavanaugh who do Irish and Scottish folk, in a not-necessarily folk fashion.