Sunday, 17 March 2013

My Top Ten Irish Songs

 Happy St. Patrick's Day.

10. The Thrills - The Irish Keep Gate-Crashing

Ah, The Thrills. Whatever happened. So much more interesting than Coldplay, and yet... where are you now? "On hiatus."
I finally shed my puppy fat
No kids, there's no encore tonight
9. Prefab Sprout - Dublin

With a name like "Paddy McAloon", he obviously has some Irish heritage... though apparently, he was born in Durham.
Dublin, Dublin 
Home of pretty Coleens
Dublin, Dublin, 

Nurse of such bitter dreams
8. Dennis Leary - Traditional Irish Folk Song

Being of Irish-Catholic descent gives Leary a pass from getting lynched for this hilarious folk song mickey take. I think.
They come over here and they take all our land
They chop of our heads and they boil them in oil
Our children are leaving and we have no heads
We drink and we sing and we drink and we die
7. Flogging Molly - Paddy's Lament

Kind of like the Pogues if Shane was from LA and could still stand up straight.

6. The Boomtown Rats - Banana Republic

After being banned from playing live in their home country, this was Bob Geldof's typically restrained tribute to the "septic isle" of his birth.

5. Morrissey - Irish Blood, English Heart

Well, he's half-Irish, half Salford... as he likes to keep reminding us. One of his most visceral and exciting rock songs... even if, in the end, it's more about England than Ireland. Still...

4. The Pogues - Dirty Old Town

A song written by Ewan MacColl (Kirsty's dad), made famous by the Dubliners (see below), but it's Shane's version that does it for me... if anything, he sounds even dirtier than the town he's serenading.
I met my love by the gasworks wall... one of the greatest opening lines ever.

Which brings us to...

3. The Pogues & The Dubliners - The Irish Rover

I wouldn't normally include two songs by the same artist in one Top Ten, but this is the very best version...
There was Barney McGee
From the banks of the Lee
There was Hogan from County Tyrone
There was Johnny McGurk
Who was scared stiff of work
And a man from Westmeath called Malone
There was Slugger O'Toole
Who was drunk as a rule
And Fighting Bill Tracy from Dover
And your man, Mick McCann
From the banks of the Bann
Was the skipper of the Irish Rover
And this is only Number Three...!?

2. Paul Brady - The Island

There's been a fair few songs written about "The Troubles" (spare me Sunday, Bloody Sunday) but this has to be the most breathtakingly beautiful.

Best use of a minor chord in a pop song ever?

1. Thin Lizzy - Whiskey In The Jar

A traditional Irish folk song, recorded by everyone from the Dubliners to the Grateful Dead, Metallica to Pulp. But there can surely be no greater version than this. That guitar is just electrifying.
Musha ring dum a do dum a daiii.
Wack for my daddy-o.

Those were my favourite songs about the Emerald Isle. Which is your sham-rocker?


  1. Clannad - Newgrange. In fact, pretty much everything by Clannad.

  2. The Divine Comedy's Sunrise. The best song ever written about our stupid, futile, self-aggrandising, self-pitying conflict.

    Who cares where national borders lie?
    Who cares whose laws you're governed by?
    Why cares what name you call a town?
    Who'll care when you're six feet beneath the ground?

    1. Top marks! Any excuse for a bit of TDC is always welcomed round these parts - cheers!


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