Do You Know These Awesome Irish Bands?

Irish music is awesome.

Of course, I’m ever so slightly biased, but it’s really true. Irish artists have topped the charts around the world, won endless awards and left a legacy that we won’t forget in a hurry.

And I’m not just talking traditional Irish music, or Irish pop-rock, but actually decent stuff that you’re proud to tell your friends about and prouder still to add to your summer playlist.

Soo… to get you in the mood for your vacation in Ireland, I’ve gathered together ten awesome Irish music hits that will keep you tapping your feet and rocking along.

I should warn you- I haven’t included the massively popular Irish band U2 (you already know them so what would be the fun in that??), I’ve skipped The Pogues (they’re not really Irish anyway) and I’ve steered well clear of cheesy pop like Westlife and Boyzone (do I need to give you a reason?)

1. Boomtown Rats- Rat Trap

Let’s get started with some 80s rock!! The Boomtown Rats hail from Dún Laoghaire, Ireland (a seaside town about 12km from Dublin) and were fronted by Bob Geldof (of Band Aid fame) who has received a knighthood from the Queen and an award in 2005 for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’.

They’re probably best known for their hit ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’, but in my humble opinion, this song bests represents them. Check out ‘Rat Trap’ below.

2. Snow Patrol- Chasing Cars

The Snow Patrol are an Irish-Scottish band who have sold a massive 13 million albums worldwide!! That’s really amazing. Even if you don’t know their name, you’ve probably already heard their music. Check out ‘Chasing Cars’.

3. The Undertones- Teenage Kicks

Who’s in the mood for some proper punk? I thought you’d say that! The Undertones were at the heart of the Belfast punk scene in the 80s and are one of the most successful bands to have come out of Northern Ireland. Just check out ‘Teenage Kicks’ and you’ll see why!

4. The Cranberries- Linger

If you’ve never heard of the Cranberries, where have you been for the last 30 years??!! They stormed the international music scene in the early 90s with songs like ‘Zombie’ and ‘Linger’.

Blending indie pop, Irish folk, post-punk and even rock, they stormed MTV and saw several albums going double-platinum. Lead singer Dolores sings in a strong Irish accent which you either love or hate. Listen to ‘Linger’ here.

5. Rory Gallagher- A Million Miles Away

If you like blues and rock from the 70s, you’ll LOVE Rory Gallagher. This extremely talented multi-instrumentalist was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal and then grew up in Cork.

He was first known for his band ‘Taste’ but really hit the big time with his solo project which spawned several albums in the 70s and 80s (and over 30 million album sales!) Listen to ‘A Million Miles Away’ here.

6. Thin Lizzy- Boys are Back in Town

You’ve already heard this Irish band- I can practically guarantee it!

Thin Lizzy formed way back in 1969 in Dublin and enjoyed international success. Again, they had most of their hits in the 70s and have been defined as anything from blues, soul music, psychedelic rock, right the way to traditional Irish (although I struggle to agree with that last one!). Listen to ‘The Boys are Back in Town’ here.

7. Moloko- Time is Now

Let’s get modern. Kind of. Moloko are an Irish- English duo (lead singer Roisin Murphy is from Wicklow, Ireland) who first hit the charts way back in 1995. They combined jazz with alternative dance and elements of trip hop to create a fresh sound from Ireland. Listen to ‘Time is Now’ here.

8. Divine Comedy- National Express

And now for something completely different!! Divine Comedy are another pop band from the early 90s who play largely tongue-in-cheek music with a twist. They actually wrote the theme song for the Father Ted hit show called ‘Songs of Love’.

They’re from Northern Ireland and had many hits in the UK with their unique orchestral pop. Listen to ‘National Express’ here.

9. Sinead O’Connor- Nothing Compares 2 U

Sinead O’Connor was first noticed by the world with her haunting cover of Prince’s song ‘Nothing Compares to You’ in 1990, her shaved head and her political views. She won many MTV awards and was nominated for several Grammys for that very song, although she hasn’t had too many hits of the same magnitude since.

She’s not to everyone’s taste, but she deserves her place here as a great representative of Ireland.

Watch this great clip from ‘Top of the Pops’ from 1990.

10. Ash- Girl from Mars

Let’s finish our list with some 90s indie pop! ‘Girl from Mars’ was Ash’s first top 40 hit which they penned with the lead singer was just 16 (and it sounds like it too!!) Interesting fact- if you ever phone NASA and get put on hold, this is the song you’ll hear! 🙂 Listen to ‘Girl From Mars’ here.

So there you have it! The ten best Irish music hits in the whole world, and completely free from pop rubbish.

But tell me what you think? Would YOU include anyone else on this list? Do you think U2 should still be here?