The Best Folk Music of Ireland Songs

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The best folk music of Ireland is a compilation of various songs that have been passed down from generation to generation. These songs are often about love, loss, and hope, and they offer a glimpse into the culture and history of the country.

Irish Music History

Ireland has a very long and rich musical history. Irish music has been influenced by many different cultures over the centuries. Irish music is very diverse, and there are many different styles of music. Irish music is also very soulful and moving.

Origins of Irish music

Irish music is the generic term for music from Ireland. It may be contrasted with “Celtic music,” a broader category that includes all the music of the Celtic languages, whether from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall or the Isle of Man. However, there is no one “Irish music,” but rather a variety of traditional musics of Ireland.

There are three main types of traditional Irish music: dance music, songs, and instrumental music. Dance music is inextricably linked with Irish dancing; songs are often love songs or drinking/party songs; and instrumental tunes can be played on anything from the fiddle to the tin whistle to the uilleann pipes (a type of bagpipe).

The roots of Irish traditional music date back to the Middle Ages, with influences from early Christian and secularmusic from Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. By the late Middle Ages, there was a well-developed traditionof secular song in Gaelic Ireland; professional musicians were hired to play for feasts and celebrations. In the early modern period (16th–18th centuries), as firearms began to replace older weapons, military dancing fell out of fashion in most parts of Europe. Nevertheless, it thrived in Ireland as part of a rich traditionof country dancing. This tradition continued throughout the 19th centurywith dance masters passing on their skills through families and friends.

Irish music in the United States

In the United States, Irish music is often heard at St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and in Irish-American communities. It has also influenced the development of other genres of American music, such as country and bluegrass.

Irish immigrants began arriving in the United States in the late 1700s, and by the mid-1800s, they were one of the largest immigrant groups in the country. Many Irish Americans maintained their ties to Ireland by sending money back to support family members, as well as participating in Irish cultural organizations in their communities.

One of the most popular forms of entertainment for Irish Americans was attending concerts featuring Irish music. These concerts were often held in social halls and theaters, and they sometimes featured famous Irish musicians who had emigrated to the United States.

As Irish immigrants assimilated into American society, they often changed their musical traditions to fit their new home. For example, many early Irish-American bands played a mix of Irish and popular American tunes. Over time, however, these bands began to focus more on playing specificallyIrish music.

Today, there are many different types of Irish music popular among American audiences, including traditional Celtic songs, ballads, jigs, reels, and polkas.

Irish Folk Songs

Ireland is home to some of the best folk music in the world. The Irish have a rich history of folk music, and it is one of the cornerstones of their culture. Irish folk music is characterized by its wide variety of styles, instruments, and vocal ranges. It is also known for its upbeat tempo and lively rhythms.

“Danny Boy”

“Danny Boy” is a ballad written by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly and usually set to the Irish tune of the “Londonderry Air”. It is most closely associated with Irish communities. The lyrics tell the story of an estranged father and son, and the self-reflection that follows.

The lyrics first appeared in print in 1913, but the song was not copyrighted until 1915. Weatherly gave the song to the vocalist ELINOR REMICK WARREN, who made it one of her signature tunes. “Danny Boy” has been recorded by many artists over the years, including such notables as Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, Paul Robeson, Johnny Cash, and Ernest Tubb. It has also been used in many films and television shows.

“The Wild Rover”

“The Wild Rover” is a traditional Irish folk song about a man who has taken the life of a wandering rogue. He eventually returns home to his family, but not before he’s had some adventures. The song is also known as “The Rambling Irishman” and “The Rolling Stone.” It has been recorded by many artists, including The Dubliners, The Pogues, and Dropkick Murphys.

“The Rising of the Moon”

“The Rising of the Moon” is a ballad that tells the story of an Irish rebel who is captured by the British and sentenced to death. The song was written by John Keegan Casey in 1816, and it quickly became popular among the Irish people. The song was later adopted by the United Irishmen, a political movement that was dedicated to achieving independence from British rule. “The Rising of the Moon” continues to be an important part of Irish culture, and it is often performed at folk music festivals and other events.

Irish Folk Musicians

Ireland is a country with a rich history of folk music. For centuries, the Irish have been playing folk music and passing down the tradition from one generation to the next. Irish folk music is known for its catchy tunes and emotional lyrics. The best folk music of Ireland is played by some of the most talented musicians in the world.

The Clancy Brothers

The Clancy Brothers were an Irish folk music group, who were particularly popular in the 1950s and 1960s. They were well known for their renditions of traditional Irish ballads and rebel songs. The brothers were born into a musical family in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, Ireland. All of the brothers learned to play the violin, piano, guitar, and mandolin. The eldest brother, Paddy Clancy (1922-1998), was the first to emigrate to the United States in 1947. He was soon followed by his brothers Liam (1927-1990) and Tom (1930-2009). The three brothers began performing together in New York City’s Washington Square Park.

In 1955, they made their first professional recordings for Folkways Records. These recordings were very well received and led to them being booked for concerts and television appearances. In 1961, they returned to Ireland to record an album with various traditional Irish musicians. This album, called The Rising of the Moon, was very successful and established the Clancy Brothers as one of the leading folk groups of their time. They continued to tour and record together until Liam’s death in 1990. After Liam’s death, Tom and Paddy continued to perform as a duo until Paddy’s death in 1998. The Clancy Brothers were a hugely influential force in popularizing traditional Irish music around the world.

The Dubliners

One of the most influential Irish folk bands of all time, The Dubliners helped bring Irish folk music to a global audience in the 1960s with their energetic live performances and unique take on traditional songs. Formed in 1962, the band was originally made up of Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna, Ronnie Drew, Ciaran Bourke, and John Sheahan. They quickly became one of the most popular bands in Ireland, playing a mix of traditional Irish folk songs and ballads as well as their own original compositions.

The Dubliners enjoyed great success in the 1960s and 1970s, with their albums reaching the top of the charts in Ireland and the UK. They also became popular in continental Europe and Australia, touring extensively throughout these regions. In 1987, they were inducted into the Irish Music Hall of Fame, and in 2002 they were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Folk Awards. The Dubliners continued to perform and record together until Luke Kelly’s death in 1984, after which Barney McKenna is the only remaining original member still active with the band.

The Chieftains

The Chieftains are an Irish Celtic band formed in Dublin in November 1962, by Paddy Moloney, Sean Keane, Michael Tubridy, Charlie Lennon, and David Fallon. The band has rotated personnel many times over the years while always remaining true to its Irish roots; their music is based on traditional Irish folk music, but they have also borrowed elements from Scottish and English folk music, as well as rock and roll, jazz, and classical music. They have achieved international success with their signature sound of uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), fiddles, bodhran drums, and flutes.

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