30 Irish Songs to Bring You Some Luck This St. Patrick's Day

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·8 min read

You won’t be taking to the streets for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year, but you can still turn up while social distancing. Whether you’re hosting a karaoke night in your living room for your close friends or you’re riding solo, it’s not St. Paddy’s Day until someone belts “Danny Boy” at the end of the night. Add in Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” or pop hits like Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl” and you have a playlist even the bartender at your favorite pub can be proud of. Check out these 30 Irish songs you can (sham)rock to this St. Patrick’s Day.

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1. “Danny Boy” by Gentri

Be honest, do you actually know any of the lyrics past, “the pipes, the pipes are calling?” To be fair, you probably never needed to because by the time this tune came on in the bar (remember those?) you were already on your fifth Guinness and it just didn’t matter because everyone else was fumbling through the lyrics too. This staple St. Paddy’s Day tune was written by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly back in 1913 and has since had many versions. Check out this smooth cover by Gentri.

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2. “Take Me to Church” by Hozier

In case you didn’t know, this crooner hails from Ireland. “Take Me to Church” is the perfect ballad to shut down that living room karaoke party we know you’re planning.

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3. “Galway Girl” by Ed Sheeran

This catchy 2017 hit is the perfect mix of traditional Irish folk elements and contemporary pop. It’s what the kids would call “a bop.”

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4. “Breakeven” by The Script

Drink some water and take several deep breaths, because you’re going to need a lot of air support when you’re belting this jam at the top of your lungs. This Irish rock band blessed us with so many hits—“Hall of Fame,” “The Man Who Couldn’t be Moved,” “Nothing”—just to name a few.

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5. “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol

After expanding your lung span beyond capacity with The Script, take it down a notch with “Chasing Cars.” This megahit by the Irish band takes us back to the early 2000s—where we’d wear neon-colored leggings under our denim skirts and flat iron our bangs. Simpler times.

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6. “Molly Mallone” by The Dubliners

This song is so popular among the Irish that’s been dubbed the unofficial national anthem Ireland. Written in 1883, the song speaks of Molly Malone, who was living her best life as a fishmonger, selling “cockles and mussels.” Unfortunately, Molly ends up dying, but with the way the song makes you want to sway, you’d never know it’s so morbid.

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7. “An Irish Pub Song” by The Rumjacks

The fact that this upbeat ode to Irish pubs comes courtesy of Australian punk rock band The Rumjacks only solidifies the fact that St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday for all.

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8. “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Izzy

St. Patrick’s Day or not, “The Boys Are Back in Town” is so catchy, you can sing it any time anywhere. You’ve also probably heard it in several movies, including Toy Story, The Expendables and A Knight’s Tale.

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9. “Drunken Lullabies” by Flogging Molly

This song is totally punk, but it’s got enough Irish flare that you might feel the need to bust out an Irish jig of your own. It even caught Tony Hawk’s ear and was featured on his Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 skateboarding video game back in 2002.

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10. “I’m Looking for a Four-Leaf Clover” by Art Mooney

Another oldie but goodie. “I’m Looking for a Four-Leaf Clover” first made the waves back in 1927. In addition to John Wayne, the song has been covered by artists such as Nick Lucas, Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra and others.

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11. "The Rocky Road to Dublin" by The High Kings

If you want an instant mood booster, queue up "The Rocky Road to Dublin." This folksy song is upbeat and uplifting from the very first note.

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12. “Dirty Old Town” by The Pogues

Though it was written by Ewan MacColl about his hometown of Salford, England, this rendition by Celtic punk bank The Pogues is most familiar with the masses.

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13. “Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral (That’s an Irish Lullaby)” by Bing Crosby

If you’re in need of a soothing melody to put the kids to bed, “Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral” is the perfect selection. This harmonious tune was a hit when it first came out in 1913. Bing Crosby’s rendition brought it back to the mainstream when he starred in Going My Way in 1944.

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14. “Zombie” by The Cranberries

This classic has stood the test of time because of its deep rooted and still-relevant origins. The Irish alternative band wrote “Zombie” after two young boys were killed in the Warrington bombings that took place in England in 1993.

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15. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2

“Not a rebel song,” as U2 front man Bono loves to remind his fans, “Sunday Blood Sunday” is a cry for peace. The heavy tune was inspired by Bloody Sunday, aka the Bogside Massacre, in which 26 Irish citizens were shot by British soldiers during a protest.

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16. “This Is a Rebel Song” by Sinead O'Connor

This song is a response to U2’s pacifism. Though she was not rallying for war, O’Connor used a torrid relationship with a fictional Englishman to question the violence the English had asserted on the Irish.

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17. “A Song for Ireland” by The Dubliners ft. Luke Kelly

Ever been so taken by a place you write a song about it? That’s exactly what English folk singer Phil Colclough did after visiting the Dingle Peninsula. “A Song for Ireland” has been covered by various artists, and this version with The Dubliners ft. Luke Kelly is quite popular.

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18. "C'est La Vie" by B*Witched

For when the nostalgia is hitting different, turn up to this pop tune by Irish girl band, B*Witched and party like its 1998.

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19. “A Great Day for the Irish” by Judy Garland

Whether you’re Irish or not, Judy Garland’s renowned pipes belting this song will make you feel like you are. The award-winning actress popularized the song when she played the titular character in Little Nelly Kelly.

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20. “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys

This one is going to sound familiar off the bat and, that’s because it was featured in The Departed. You know, that little Academy award-winning film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon.

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21. “Rose Tattoo” by The Dropkick Murphys

Often played at last call, “Rose Tattoo” has a sentimental meaning behind it. The song was inspired by a rose tattoo lead vocalist and bassist Ken Casey got in honor of his grandfather who raised him after his father passed away.

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22. “Seven Drunken Nights” by The Dubliners

Don’t let the melodies of those string instruments fool you, this song is equally sad as it is hilarious. It’s about drunk man who keeps coming home and seeing evidence that his wife is cheating with another man. Yikes.

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23. “The Fields of Athenry” by Paddy Reilly

Unlike “Seven Drunken Nights,” this one doesn’t try to fool you with upbeat instrumentation. “The Fields of Athenry” is a sad ballad about a man who is caught stealing food for his family and is punished by being shipped off to another country. It was written during the Irish Potato Famine, but is a huge hit among today’s Irish sports fans.

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24. “Only Time” by Enya

Spring weather is unpredictable, so if you find yourself stuck in the house because it’s raining this St. Patrick’s Day, “Only Time” is the perfect song to listen to while looking out the window like they do in the movies. It’s a bit dramatic, but we don’t judge.

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25. “Nice to Meet Ya” by Niall Horan

Forging a path away from One Direction, Niall Horan penned the hit song along with fellow Irish singer-songwriter RuthAnne.

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26. “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison

You can never go wrong with any Van Morrison pick, but “Brown-Eyed Girl” tends to be a crowd favorite. The song was released in 1967 but has definitely stood the test of time, making its way into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007.

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27. “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice

We know what you’re thinking, but it’s not that. Though Rice himself has never outright clarified what the song is about, fans believe this cheekily titled jam is actually about his clarinet teacher's daughter.

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28. “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones

This grungy tune by the Derry band came to the forefront by sheer luck. The group initially excluded it from their eponymous debut album, but included it in the re-release. It caught the attention of BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who famously played the song two times in a row. The rest was history.

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29. “Whiskey You’re the Devil” by The Clancy Brothers

An ode to all the bad decisions one makes while under the influence. We’ve all been there, are we right?

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30. “Buy Us a Drink” by the Irish Rovers

Perfect for when there’s a lull, “Buy Us a Drink’s” sad lyrics are veiled by an upbeat tempo. The song speaks about “girls in the bars” who “paint on the smile so you don't see the scars” and “get lots of offers and not much respect/ for raisin' three kids on a government cheque.” Bummer.

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