24 of the best Irish session songs

24 of the best Irish session songs

1. The Fields of Athenry - a classic balled by Dublin songwriter Pete St. John 


2. The Rare Ould Times  - the story of a man who worked as a cooper in Guinness’ brewery all his life but was made redundant


3. The Ferryman  – a song about the last of the ferryboats working on the Liffey


4. Ringsend Rose – a gentle love song


5. The Mero  - The Mero was once a cinema in Dublin’s Mary Street


6. Nancy Spain - by Dublin’s Barney Rushe who also wrote...


7. The Crack was Ninety


8. Ride On  - is by Cork songwriter Jimmy McCarthy, as is...


9. Bright Blue Rose


10. The Island - powerful and intelligent track by Paul Brady


11. The Town I Loved So Well - a Phil Coulter classic inspired by the Troubles in Northern Ireland


12. The Men Behind the Wire - by Paddy Joe McGuigan

13. Joe McDonnell - by Brian Warfield


14. Galway Girl - written by Steve Earle who was born in Virginia but grew up in Texas. He spent some time in Galway hanging out with local Irish musicians like Sharon Shannon and wrote the song that became a massive hit


15. The Green Fields of France  - an anti-war song written by Scottish songwriter Eric Bogle in 1975 – a year after the Birmingham and Guilford bombings and the resulting backlash against the Irish in Britain


16. The Red Rose Café – written by Dutch songwriter Pierre Kartner but also recorded by The Fureys and Davey Arthur


17. Dirty Old Town -  assumed to be a traditional Irish song but actually written by the legendary Ewan McColl about Salford in Greater Manchester


18. The Auld Triangle - always a polular choice


19. Whiskey in the Jar - got a new lease of life when Thin Lizzy rocked it up


20. The Irish Rover - brought up to date when The Dubliners and The Pogues joined forces 


21. The Foggy Dew - Sinead O’Connor’s brilliant rendition popularised the song for a whole new generation


22. Wild Mountain Thyme - James Taylor has a lovely version 


23. Spancil Hill  - usually assumed to be traditional but was actually written in the traditional style by Michael Considine and tells the story of an Irish immigrant living in California who dreams one night that he is back home in Spancil Hill, Co. Clare


24. Fairytale of New York – simply the best Christmas song ever

This is an abridged version of an article by Joe Giltrap first published in The Irish Post in December 2015