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Famous Irish Songs for You

Ireland is famous for many things, as we recently explored, but singing and songwriting is right up there as one of our biggest and best exports. From classic Irish trad, to ethereal Celtic hymns and modern rock and pop, the Emerald Isle knows how to make a tune. 

We’ve listed some of the most famous Irish songs below…

Danny Boy

Danny Boy might sound like it’s been around for hundreds of years but it was first published just over 100 years ago in 1913! The melancholic song is considered by many to be a tale of the Irish diaspora leaving for new shores. 

Whiskey in the Jar

Whiskey in the Jar, made famous for rockers worldwide by Thin Lizzy in the 1970s, is a classic Irish song of love, loss and betrayal set in counties Cork and Kerry.

Black Velvet Band

Here we have a tale of betrayal and deportation made famous by The Dubliners in the 1960s. A classic Irish song that always make an appearance late into the night… 

The Fields of Athenry

The Fields of Athenry tells the story of a young man sentenced to deportation for stealing food for his family during the Great Irish Famine of the 19th century. 

The Foggy Dew

Foggy Dew, made famous to a modern audience by Sinead O’Connor, focuses on the Easter Rising of 1916. 

7 Drunken Nights

This is a classic and hilarious Irish song that always gets played at the end of a great night. The song, made most famous by The Dubliners, charts the week of a gullible drunk man as he believes his wife’s increasingly ridiculous cover-ups for a secret lover! 


We could probably pick another 20 U2 songs but One struck a chord with a worldwide audience when it was first released in the early 1990s. One of the most famous Irish songs of modern times. 

Molly Malone

Molly Malone tells the tale of a young female fishmonger as she plies her trade in Dublin city only to eventually be struck down by fever. 

Dirty Old Town

Dirty Old Town might be a famous Irish song, loved up and down the country, but it’s actually a song about Salford, a small town in greater Manchester, England! 

Galway Girl

It might not technically be an Irish song but Galway Girl, recorded and made famous by the American Steve Earle in 2000, tells the tale of finding a lover in County Galway on the west coast. 

The Auld Triangle

The Auld Triangle, a classic Luke Kelly song, was actually written by writer Brendan Behan and describes the old metal triangle that was struck every morning to waken the prisoners at Mountjoy Gaol in Dublin! 

Brown Eyed Girl

Van Morrison, or Van the Man to you and I, gave the world Brown Eyed Girl in 1967 and we’ve been thankful ever since. 

The Fairytale of New York

Fairytale of New York is, without doubt, Ireland’s famous Christmas song and it does the rounds every year. Written and performed by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl in the late 1980s, it’s been a classic ever since. 


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