By Brendan Luther (AKA DJ Bluth)
Suit up in your green shamrock shirt and tights, grab a pint of Guinness, and hit play to bring out your inner Irishman in preparation for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. With this brief bit of Celtic music knowledge, you’ll have the respect of your fellow festival-goers and quickly make friends over Scotch Whiskey and beer (ordering an Irish Car Bomb immediately tells the bartender you’re a St. Paddy’s day amateur). This playlist of songs exemplifies the music, past and present, of Ireland and the British Isles; music that is so essentially intertwined with St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy the music, sing along at the pubs, and have the craziest of times in Dublin celebrating Ireland’s Patron Saint.
- Flame – Bell X1
Bell X1 is one of the most popular Irish bands in the Alternative/ Indie Rock scene. The band was formed out of Dublin Ireland in 2000 and is well known for it’s exciting live shows.
2. The Limerick Rake – The Pogues
The Pogues are a Celtic Punk band formed out of London in 1982. The band is well known for the unique, grungy and almost unintelligible accent of lead singer Shane MacGowan amidst the sounds of traditional Irish instrumentals. While the band is still currently together, MacGowan and the band have long since split ways due to his drinking problems.
3. I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys
Dropkick Murphys are a group formed out Quincy, Massachusetts in 1996 but the bands sound draws from the member’s Irish heritage. Their heavy Celtic Punk sound has been met with great commercial success. “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” is likely their most famous song and was featured in Academy Award winning movie The Departed.
4. Whiskey in the Jar – The Dubliners
Founded in Dublin (no surprise there) in 1962, the group’s career spanned 50 years with critical acclaim all over the world. The band was one of the most Iconic in Ireland over the later half of the 20th Century and was synonymous with Irish Folk music. Their influence can be seen on many of the other bands on this list including The Pogues, Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys. This is their rendition of the traditional Irish song “Whiskey in the Jar”.
5. What’s Left of the Flag – Flogging Molly
Flogging Molly is another American- Celtic Punk Band formed in 1997 in the United States (Los Angeles, California). Lead Singer Dave King was born in Dublin , while the rest of the band draws it’s instrumental influence from other Irish bands such as The Pogues.
6. Fluorescent Adolescence – Arctic Monkeys
The Arctic Monkey’s are a highly touted Indie Rock band from Sheffield, England. Though they have released five albums, their first, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, is the most notable as it was the fastest selling debut album of any band in British chart history.
7. Nuclear – Mike Oldfield
Born in 1953, in Reading England, Mike Oldfield began his professional music career at the age of 14. Oldfield’s debut album Tubular Bells was the inaugural album for Richard Branson’s Virgin Records Label. Oldfield has enjoyed commercial success throughout his career, continuing to release music after many decades. The song “Nuclear” was released just last year on his newest album Man on the Rocks.
8. Rock the Casbah – The Clash
The Clash we’re formed out of London, England in 1976 and were known for their politically inspired lyrics and rebellious attitude. Their album Combat Rock hit Double Platinum led by the song Roc the Casbah. The Clash have since been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
9. Punjab Paddy- Gaelic Storm
While the band originated in Santa Monica, California, the bands sound draws completely from Irish and Scottish influence. The vocals and instrumentals of “Punjab Paddy” are distinctively Celtic. While the band had a solid following for many years they became even more famous when some of the band members were featured in the movie Titanic as the ships entertainment.
10. Roll to Me – Del Amitri
Del Amitri is an alternative rock band formed out of Glasgow, Scotland in 1983 whose name still puzzles fans and critics alike. Their unique blend of new wave and country folk took some time to win the hearts and minds of the masses but they hit commercials success in the British Isles in the early 90’s. And finally with their release of Roll to Me in 1995, the finally achieved global success as the song reached the Top 10 singled in the States.
11. Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons was born out London’ underground folk scene in 2007. In a very short amount of time, their work and newly released album Sigh No More caught the attention of Island Records where they were signed in short order. Their popularity spread like wild fire as their unique sound seemingly blending U2, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Bruce Springsteen struck a chord people all over the world. “Hopeless Wanderer” was released on their highly anticipated second album Babel.
12. Rocky Road to Dublin – The High Kings
The High Kings are a fairly new band out of the Dublin Irish Folk scene formed in 2008. Impressively the four band members can play 13 instruments between them.
13. The Blood of Cuchulain- Jeff Danna
Jeff Dana’s own career of performing piano ended with a serious hand injury but he has found great success composing and directing music. He and his younger brother Mychael, born in Canada, have composed the scores for a whole host of movies and have won many awards, many of their work utilizing traditional Irish instrumental sounds. “Blood of Cuchulain” refers to a mythical hero of Irish folklore and was made for the sound track of the movie Boondock.