Ireland has a rich and diverse musical heritage, with countless talented musicians and singers who have made their mark on the world stage over the past century. From traditional folk music to rock and pop, Irish artists have consistently produced some of the most influential and beloved music of the past 100 years. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 50 Irish bands and solo singers who have made a significant impact on the music world.
- U2 – Formed in Dublin in 1976, U2 has become one of the most successful and critically acclaimed rock bands of all time, with hits like “With or Without You,” “Beautiful Day,” and “One.”
- Van Morrison – Known for his soulful voice and poetic lyrics, Van Morrison has been a major force in the music industry since the 1960s, with songs like “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Moondance.”
- Thin Lizzy – Led by the legendary Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy’s blend of hard rock and Irish folk music earned them a devoted fanbase and classics like “The Boys are Back in Town.”
- Sinead O’Connor – With her powerful voice and socially conscious lyrics, Sinead O’Connor made a name for herself in the 1980s and 1990s with hits like “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
- The Cranberries – This alternative rock band from Limerick captured the hearts of music fans worldwide with hits like “Zombie” and “Linger.”
- Rory Gallagher – Known for his virtuosic guitar playing and bluesy sound, Rory Gallagher remains a beloved figure in the world of rock music, with classics like “Tattoo’d Lady.”
- Enya – With her ethereal vocals and lush, atmospheric soundscapes, Enya has become one of the world’s most successful new age artists.
- Christy Moore – One of Ireland’s most beloved folk singers, Christy Moore has been entertaining audiences for over five decades, with classics like “Ride On” and “The Voyage.”
- The Pogues – This London-based band blended punk rock with traditional Irish music to create a unique sound that resonated with fans of both genres, with hits like “Dirty Old Town” and “Fairytale of New York.”
- Sinead Lohan – This singer-songwriter from Cork achieved critical acclaim with her album “No Mermaid” and its hit single of the same name.
- Damien Rice – With his emotional and introspective songwriting style, Damien Rice has won a devoted following with hits like “The Blower’s Daughter.”
- Bell X1 – This indie rock band from Dublin has been a mainstay of the Irish music scene since the early 2000s, with hits like “Rocky Took a Lover” and “The Great Defector.”
- The Dubliners – One of the most influential Irish folk bands of all time, The Dubliners helped to popularize traditional music in the 1960s and 1970s, with classics like “Whiskey in the Jar” and “The Wild Rover.”
- The Frames – Fronted by Glen Hansard, this Dublin-based band has been a major force in the Irish music scene since the 1990s, with hits like “Revelate” and “Lay Me Down.”
- Hozier – With his soulful voice and socially conscious lyrics, Hozier has become a major force in the music world since his breakout hit “Take Me to Church” in 2013.
- The Chieftains – One of the most acclaimed traditional Irish bands of all time, The Chieftains have collaborated with a wide range of musicians over the years and have won six Grammy Awards, with classics like “The Foggy Dew” and “The Galway Races.”
- Glen Hansard – In addition to his work with The Frames, Glen Hansard has also had a successful solo career, with hits like “Falling Slowly” and “Say It to Me Now.”
- Gilbert O’Sullivan – This singer-songwriter from Waterford achieved international success in the 1970s with hits like “Alone Again (Naturally)” and “Claire.”
- The Saw Doctors – This rock band from Tuam in County Galway achieved great success in Ireland and the UK in the 1990s, with hits like “I Useta Love Her” and “N17.”
- The Corrs – This family band from Dundalk achieved international success in the 1990s and 2000s with their blend of pop and traditional Irish music, with hits like “Breathless” and “Runaway.”
- Damien Dempsey – This singer-songwriter from Dublin has been a major figure in the Irish music scene since the early 2000s, with hits like “Sing All Our Cares Away” and “Colony.”
- Lisa Hannigan – This singer-songwriter from Dublin achieved critical acclaim with her debut album “Sea Sew” and her work with Damien Rice, with hits like “Lille” and “Volcano.”
- The Undertones – This punk rock band from Derry achieved cult status with their hit “Teenage Kicks” and their energetic live performances.
- Luke Kelly – As a member of The Dubliners, Luke Kelly was one of the most influential figures in the Irish folk music scene in the 1960s and 1970s, with classics like “The Rocky Road to Dublin” and “The Wild Rover.”
- The Stunning – This rock band from Galway achieved great success in Ireland in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with hits like “Brewing Up a Storm” and “Half Past Two.”
- Mary Black – One of Ireland’s most beloved folk singers, Mary Black has been entertaining audiences for over four decades, with hits like “No Frontiers” and “Katie.”
- The Boomtown Rats – Led by Bob Geldof, The Boomtown Rats were one of the most successful punk rock bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, with hits like “I Don’t Like Mondays” and “Rat Trap.”
- Kodaline – This indie rock band from Dublin has achieved international success in recent years, with hits like “All I Want” and “High Hopes.”
- Dolores O’Riordan – As the lead singer of The Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan achieved international success with hits like “Zombie” and “Linger.”
- Imelda May – This singer-songwriter from Dublin has achieved great success with her blend of rockabilly, blues, and jazz, with hits like “Johnny Got a Boom Boom” and “Mayhem.”
The Irish music scene has produced a vast array of talented musicians and singers over the last 100 years, each with their own unique sound and style. From traditional Irish folk music to contemporary pop, rock, and indie genres, these artists have contributed to Ireland’s rich musical heritage and left their mark on the international music scene.
As we look back at the last 100 years of Irish music, we can see the evolution of styles and genres, from the traditional sounds of the Clancy Brothers to the punk rock of The Undertones, and the contemporary pop of Niall Horan. Despite the changes in the music industry and the world around us, Irish musicians and singers have continued to innovate and inspire with their unique talents and contributions to the music scene.
Whether you’re a fan of traditional Irish music or the latest pop hits, there’s something for everyone in the rich and diverse world of Irish music. As we celebrate the legacy of these 50 talented musicians and singers, we can look forward to the next generation of Irish artists who will continue to carry on this proud musical tradition for generations to come.