The Best of Irish Folk Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Best of Irish Folk Music is a site dedicated to showcasing the very best traditional and contemporary Irish folk music.

Irish Folk Music- An Introduction

Irish Folk music is the music of the people of Ireland. It is often passed down from generation to generation and has been an important part of Irish culture for centuries.

The exact origins of Irish Folk music are unknown, but it is thought to date back to the ancient Celtic people who inhabited Ireland. Celtic music was originally written for the harp, and it has remained an important part of Irish Folk music ever since.

Folk music was originally passed down orally, from one musician to another. This helped to keep the tunes fresh and new, and also meant that they were never written down or recorded. This changed in the 19th century, when collectors began writing down folk tunes in order to preserve them for future generations.

Irish Folk music has been influenced by many different cultures over the years, including American and British folk music. In more recent times, rock and roll and even hip hop have had an impact on Irish Folk music. However, at its core, Irish Folk music remains true to its roots, with many of the same tunes being passed down through the generations.

If you’re interested in learning more about Irish Folk music, there are many great resources available online and in libraries. You can also attend one of the many festivals dedicated to this genre of music. Whatever way you choose to explore it, Irish Folk music is sure to delight and entertain you.

The Best of Irish Folk Music

Irish folk music is a genre of folk music that developed in Ireland. It has been influenced by the music of Ireland’s Celtic cultures, as well as music from England, Scotland, and continental Europe. The Best of Irish Folk Music will feature a collection of the best known and most loved Irish folk songs.

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were an Irish folk music group, popular in the 1950s and 1960s. The core members were brothers Patrick (Pat), Tom, and Liam Clancy; Tommy Makem was also considered a core member by the other members of the group. The singing of Liam Clancy was regarded as particularly exceptional.

The Clancys came from Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, Ireland, but moved to Manchester, England in 1948 before going to New York in 1955 where they met Tommy Makem. They first recorded together for Folkways Records in 1956 under the name The Clancy Brothers and Cousin Alec. In 1961 they began recording for Columbia Records and achieved great popularity in the United States with their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and Hootenanny (television series).

The Dubliners

The Dubliners were an Irish folk band founded in Dublin in 1962. The band’s original line-up included Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna, Ciarán Bourke, Ronnie Drew, and Jim McCann. The Dubliners have been influential in promoting Irish music and culture worldwide, and they helped to popularize Irish traditional music in the 1960s with hits such as “Seven Drunken Nights” and “The Black Velvet Band”. In 1967, they became the first ever Irish band to achieve a gold record for their album “Seven Drunken Nights”. They have released over 30 albums and toured extensively throughout their career.


Planxty is an Irish folk music band founded in the early 1970s, composed of four Irish musicians—Donal Lunny, Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, and Liam O’Flynn—and active until the mid-1980s. One of the most influential bands in Irish music history, they are credited with single-handedly reviving the tradition when it was at its lowest ebb and popularizing it among a new generation.

The group was notable for its eclectic repertoire and for successfully combining traditional tunes with original compositions by one or more of the band members. They also achieved international success, touring extensively throughout Europe and North America. Their first two albums are generally regarded as classics of Irish folk music.

The band reformed in 2003 and have been touring regularly since then.

The Chieftains

The Chieftains are an Irish musical group founded in Dublin in November 1963, by Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy. The band’s line-up has undergone many changes over the years; the only remaining original member is Paddy Moloney. In 1962, they travelled to America and performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. They were featured on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s 1967 film Barry Lyndon, which is considered one of the most accurate cinematic portrayals of 18th-century life. They have won six Grammy Awards during their career and been nominated for several more. In 2012 they celebrated their 50th anniversary with the release of Voice of Ages, an album that featured some of the most popular musicians of the day including Bon Iver, Beck and Paolo Nutini.

The Chieftains’ music is based on traditional Irish folk tunes, but they have also been influenced by other genres such as rock and roll, jazz and classical music. They often incorporate elements of these genres into their arrangements. They have also collaborated with many famous musicians from outside the folk tradition, including Van Morrison, Sting, Roger Daltrey, Sinéad O’Connor and The Rolling Stones.

The Chieftains’ sound is distinctive and instantly recognizable. Their use of traditional Irish instruments such as the uilleann pipes and bodhrán gives their music a uniquely Celtic flavor, while their innovative arrangements set them apart from other folk groups.

The Evolution of Irish Folk Music

Irish folk music has undergone a great deal of change over the centuries. It is constantly evolving, as new performers bring their own unique interpretations and innovations to the music. This has resulted in a rich and varied tradition that is enjoyed by music lovers all over the world.

The influence of American Folk Music

In the earlier days of Irish folk music, the music was mainly used as a form of entertainment at social gatherings. It wasn’t until the 18th century that Irish folk music began to be taken more seriously and used as a means of expression by the people. The Irish people have always been great storytellers, and their music reflect this. Many of the songs that were sung during this time were about important events that had occurred, or about love and loss. In the 19th century, Irish folk music began to take on a new sound with the addition of American influences. This can be seen in the use of instruments such as the banjo and fiddle. The songs also began to change, with more emphasis placed on dance tunes and ballads. American folk music had a profound influence on Irish folk music, and this can still be seen in the music being made today.

The influence of Celtic Rock

The Celtic rock genre is a fusion of traditional Irish and Celtic music with rock music. This blend of genres started in the late 1960s with bands like the Dubliners and the Clancy Brothers. The genre began to gain popularity in the 1970s with bands like Horslips, Planxty, and Van Morrison. In the 1980s, Celtic rock saw a rise in popularity with bands like U2, The Pogues, and The Waterboys.

The 1990s saw a decline in popularity for Celtic rock, but the genre has seen a resurgence in recent years with bands like Flogging Molly, The Dropkick Murphys, and Great Big Sea.

The Future of Irish Folk Music

Irish folk music has been around for centuries, and it has undergone many changes throughout its history. It is currently experiencing a revival, with more people than ever interested in its traditional sounds. But what does the future hold for Irish folk music? In this article, we’ll take a look at the current state of the genre and explore some of the possible directions it could take in the years to come.

The influence of Technology

As folk music becomes more popular and accessible, it is also becoming more influenced by technology. Traditionalists may resist this change, but there is no denying that technology is having an impact on the way folk music is being created and performed.

One of the most obvious ways that technology is impacting folk music is through the use of social media. Platforms such as YouTube and SoundCloud have made it possible for anyone with a internet connection to share their music with the world. This has been a boon for unsigned and independent artists who might not otherwise have had a way to reach a wider audience.

Social media has also made it easier for fans to connect with each other and share their love of folk music. Facebook groups and online forums are full of passionate discussions about various aspects of the genre. This sense of community can be a great resource for new fans who are looking to explorefolk music beyond the mainstream.

In addition to social media, there are other ways that technology is influencing folk music. The use of digital instruments and recording equipment has made it possible for musicians to create sounds that would have been impossible to reproduce using traditional acoustic instruments. This has allowed for a greater level of creativity in folk music, and has led to the development of new genres such as “electro-acoustic folk” and “trip-hop folk.”

It remains to be seen how traditionalists will react to these changes, but there is no doubt that technology is having a major impact on the future of Irish folk music.

The influence of Social Media

It is undeniable that social media has had a huge impact on the music industry as a whole. But what does this mean for Irish folk music?

The traditional way of marketing and promoting folk music was through word-of-mouth, gigging, and selling CDs at concerts. While these methods are still important, social media has given folk musicians a whole new way to reach their audience.

Nowadays, Irish folk musicians are using social media to connect with fans all over the world, promote their music, and build their brand. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become powerful tools for sharing music and reaching new fans.

Irish folk musicians are also using social media to connect with each other and create a sense of community. Social media has made it easier than ever for folk musicians to collaborate, share ideas, and support each other.

There is no doubt that social media has had a major impact on Irish folk music. It has given musicians a new way to connect with their audience, promote their music, and build their brand. It has also made it easier for them to connect with each other and create a sense of community. The future of Irish folk music looks bright thanks to social media!

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