Five songs that will make you fall in love with Irish music

Five songs that will make you fall in love with Irish music

When asked why I love Irish music so much or why I don't listen to something more modern, I'm never able to give an immediate response.

That's because my love for Irish music is rooted deep within, it's in my soul and my nature, and so it's hard to explain to someone who has not experienced the same passion.

For me, Irish music is from an exclusive collection of the most beautiful music in the world, from the haunting tones of the uilleann pipes to the heartbeat of the bodhrán.

I listen to the music but I also feel it - I can feel the beat as it travels through my ears and passes down my body to my tapping foot.

This sensation could not be explained if I had a thousand words, but I am addicted to it. I love Irish music.

But it is the atmosphere can really make the music come alive.

Whether you’re sitting in the corner of your lively local pub and singing along to a trad band, or travelling with Bus Éireann on route to your home town with your earphones in as you look out the window listening to the sorrowful tune of Skibbereen by the Dubliners.

Moments like this are the reason I love Irish music.

A traditional music seisiún at full throttle (Picture: Tourism Ireland)

For me, it's the memories that really make the songs meaningful.

Whenever I listen to the beautiful Samhradh Samhradh or Dublin in the Rare Ould Times I will think of my grandparents' funerals and how the songs echoed off the church walls.

It can be painful to relive these memories, without a doubt, but they also give the song so much depth - over come with emotions but also a form of comfort.

Listening to Irish music is like entering a portal into history, when I hear The Ballad of Michael Collins, I feel as if I’m in the presence of a ghost from the past trying to communicate the struggles of yesterday through song.

Music makes me feel proud of my ancestors and heritage, proud of my beautiful country - Ireland.

No matter how far away I am, I always feel closer to home by throwing on a set of reels or jigs and hopping along to the brisk notes of the tin whistle.

Irish music is an addiction a healthy addiction, one I'm not willing to give up.

Be it The Dubliners, The Wolfe Tones or Chieftains, my ears are wide and listening.

Here are five brilliant Irish tunes, in no particular order...

Óró sé do bheatha abhaile

This beautiful tune that came to be known as a rebel song in the 20th century is about the great sea warrior Gráinne Ní Mháille (Gráinne O'Malley), who was the chieftain of the O’Malley clan, also known as a pirate queen.

According to my mother, she is an ancestor so there's a spiritual connection to her through listening to this song.


Not to be confused with the stunning West Cork town of today, this song tells a story of the struggles in one of the most greatly affected areas of the town during the Great Famine.

It is capable of bringing the listener to tears, however this tragic history contrasts the now bright place where my family live.

Samhradh Samhradh

The song was first heard of in Dublin 1730, a song written for the Gaelic festival known as Bealtaine that marks the beginning of summer, celebrated April 30 to May 1.

During the festival there is the lighting of bonfires and making of flower decorations.

This song is a perfect summer tune to listen to during a road trip through the country side.

The Irish Rover

A more upbeat, fast tempo song; this tune tells the story of a magnificent sailing ship with extravagant features and crew, however it unfortunately meets its ill-fated end and sinks.

The whole crew drowned, all except the singer who in the last line is revealed to be the only survivor.

This seemingly jolly song has a gloomy twist, but listening to the song enables you to picture yourself on the Irish Rover.

Molly Malone

An absolute classic, this Dublin anthem tells the story of a fishmonger girl who sells cockles and mussels throughout her days, and unfortunately dies of the fever.

The Molly Malone statue is in Grafton Street, Dublin, and during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations, June 13 was declared as Molly Malone Day.

This song highlights the fragility of life, the ghostly image of a woman walking through the old Dublin streets comes to mind.

If you haven’t already, put on some Irish songs and let yourself fall into a rabbit hole of wonderful tunes - don’t forget to feel the music.