12 Best Irish Bands Ever

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Ireland’s musical heritage is as rich and varied as its landscape. From the haunting melodies of traditional folk tunes to the contemporary beats of rock and pop, the island has produced an array of sounds that have left an indelible mark on the global music scene. Irish bands have not only shaped local culture but have also influenced artists and genres worldwide.

In this article, we explore the incredible talent that has emerged from Ireland by showcasing the 12 best Irish bands of all time. These groups span different styles, ranging from cherished traditional melodies to cutting-edge contemporary sounds.

Whether you’re a fan of folk bands like The Dubliners, rock giants like U2, or looking forwedding bands in Ireland to add a touch of magic to your special day, this journey through Ireland’s musical landscape promises something for every listener.

1. The Dubliners

The Dubliners are one of the most famous traditional Irish bands, known for their significant contribution to folk music. They formed in 1962 and have played a crucial role in making traditional Irish music popular both in Ireland and internationally.

Key Highlights

  • Influence on Folk Music: The Dubliners played a crucial role in bringing back and keeping alive Irish folk music. They performed these old songs with passion and energy, making them appeal to modern audiences all over the world.
  • Notable Songs and Albums: The Dubliners have a great collection of songs including “Whiskey in the Jar”, “The Wild Rover”, and “Seven Drunken Nights”. Some of their popular albums are “A Drop of the Hard Stuff” and “Live at the Albert Hall”.

For those who want to explore more of their amazing songs, here’s a handpicked YouTube playlist of essential tracks by The Dubliners:

Their music continues to inspire new folk bands and musicians, keeping the spirit of Irish musical heritage alive. If you’re interested in learning about more traditional Irish bands like The Dubliners,Long Time Coming’s songlist provides a wide range of options available for weddings, including excellent renditions of traditional Irish music.

If you’re planning a wedding and looking for exceptional entertainment packages, you can also exploreLong Time Coming’s wedding band showcase. This will allow you to experience their talent firsthand and discuss your specific requirements with their team.

Now let’s continue our journey through the amazing talents from Ireland!

2. The Pogues

The Pogues, formed in 1982, are famous for their unique combination of punk rock and traditional Irish folk music. Led by the charismatic and often controversial Shane MacGowan, they brought a raw energy and rebellious spirit to the folk genre, creating a distinctive sound that has captivated audiences worldwide. Their music combines the loudness of punk with the tuneful and poetic aspects of Irish folk, making them one of the most well-known bands from Ireland.

Key Highlights

  • Cultural Significance: The Pogues have had a big impact on both the punk and folk scenes. Their one-of-a-kind style influenced many other bands, bringing together two different types of music.
  • Famous Songs and Albums:
  • “Fairytale of New York” featuring Kirsty MacColl remains a holiday classic.
  • Albums such as “Rum Sodomy & The Lash” and “If I Should Fall from Grace with God” are considered important works in their collection.

Themes in Lyrics

The Pogues’ lyrics often explore topics deeply connected to Irish identity, politics, and social issues. Songs like “A Pair of Brown Eyes” reflect on loss and longing, while “Thousands Are Sailing” talks about people leaving Ireland and the Irish community around the world.

Their talent for combining emotional storytelling with their energetic musical style has made them an important part of music history.

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3. U2

U2’s rise to fame as one of the world’s biggest rock bands is nothing short of legendary. They formed in Dublin in 1976 and quickly gained a reputation for their powerful sound and meaningful lyrics. Their journey from playing small shows in their hometown to becoming global superstars is a testament to their lasting popularity and musical talent.

Key Highlights

  • Musical Evolution and Experimentation: Throughout their career, U2 has constantly evolved, trying out different musical genres while staying true to their rock roots. From the energetic songs on their debut album “Boy” (1980) to the experimental sounds of “Achtung Baby” (1991), which incorporated electronic elements, U2 has always been willing to take creative risks.
  • Notable Albums and Achievements: U2 has released several highly praised albums, with one standout being “The Joshua Tree” (1987). This record featured iconic tracks like “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, propelling U2 to even greater fame. In addition to its critical acclaim, “The Joshua Tree” also won numerous awards, including Grammy Awards.

Bono’s Role as a Frontman

Bono isn’t just a charismatic lead singer – he’s also a passionate advocate for important causes. His dedication to fighting for social justice and helping those in need has turned him into a global symbol of activism. Whether he’s campaigning for debt relief for developing nations or speaking out about human rights issues, Bono uses his platform as a musician to make a positive impact on the world.

Susan and Dean – The Pillo Hotel

Additionally, U2’s music has touched the lives of many fans, serving as the soundtrack to momentous occasions like weddings. Couples have chosen U2’s heartfelt melodies to celebrate their love and commitment. For instance,Susan and Dean had a memorable wedding experience at The Pillo Hotel, where the ambiance was elevated by the band’s iconic tunes.

Long Time Coming in Cavan

Moreover, U2’s influence extends beyond their music. They have inspired countless artists and musicians to pursue their passions. This is evident in places likeCavan, where Long Time Coming provides professional and hassle-free wedding entertainment packages, capturing the essence of U2’s spirit in creating memorable experiences for couples tying the knot.

4. The Chieftains

The Chieftains are one of the most well-known traditional Irish groups, famous for their unmatched efforts in promoting traditional Irish music. Paddy Moloney founded the band in 1962, and their exceptional skills with musical instruments have been instrumental in introducing Irish folk songs to a global audience.

Key Highlights


The Chieftains have collaborated with a diverse range of artists from various genres, including famous names like The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, and Madonna. These collaborations have not only made their music more appealing to a wider audience but also demonstrated the adaptability and versatility of traditional Irish music.

Notable Achievements

Over the course of their impressive career, The Chieftains have received six Grammy Awards and numerous other honors. They have performed at significant events such as Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland and the inauguration of U.S. President Bill Clinton.

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The Chieftains’ unparalleled commitment to preserving and promoting Irish culture through music sets them apart, making them an essential part of Ireland’s vibrant musical heritage.

5. The Cranberries

The Cranberries stand out among famous Irish bands, carving a niche in the alternative rock scene during the ’90s. Their success isn’t merely about album sales but the profound connection they established with listeners worldwide.

Key Highlights

  • Dolores O’Riordan’s Unique Vocals: Dolores O’Riordan’s ethereal and haunting voice was a distinctive feature that set The Cranberries apart from other alternative rock bands. Her vocal style lent an emotional depth to their music that resonated deeply with fans.
  • Famous Songs and Albums: Zombie, Linger, and Dreams remain timeless classics, showcasing their ability to blend poignant lyrics with captivating melodies. Albums like Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? and No Need to Argue solidified their status in the music industry.

Themes in Their Music

Their music continues to be a source of inspiration and solace for many, marking The Cranberries as one of Ireland’s most iconic contributions to the world of alternative rock.

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6. Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol is one of the most popular bands from Ireland and has had a big impact on the alternative rock scene. They formed in 1994 and their journey from being a small indie band to achieving mainstream success is truly impressive.

Key Highlights

  • Contribution to Alternative Rock: Snow Patrol stands out with their ability to combine heartfelt lyrics and rich musical landscapes. Their early work, especially albums like “Songs for Polarbears” and “When It’s All Over We Still Have to Clear Up”, showcased their raw talent.
  • Evolution of Sound: The band’s music changed significantly with their third album, “Final Straw”, which brought them into the spotlight with songs like “Run”. This evolution continued with “Eyes Open”, which included the widely loved “Chasing Cars”, a song that remains a favorite in their live shows.

Notable Songs and Collaborations

  • Famous Tracks: In addition to “Chasing Cars”, songs like “Open Your Eyes”, “Signal Fire”, and “Just Say Yes” have also become classics.
  • Collaborations: Snow Patrol has worked with various artists. Gary Lightbody, the lead singer, has collaborated with musicians like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, expanding their musical horizons.

For those planning an event or wedding and looking for an experienced professional band, you may want to consider options such asLong Time Coming Wedding Band. They provide a professional, hassle-free service, and can offer wedding entertainment packages tailored to your needs.

Snow Patrol has released many different albums with a wide range of styles, making them one of Ireland’s most enduring alternative rock bands. If you’re interested in learning more about music and entertainment, you can also explore the insights shared on theLong Time Coming blog, which covers various topics related to music and event planning.

7. The Corrs

The Corrs, one of the most beloved Irish pop bands, have made a lasting impact on the music world with their unique mix of pop rock and traditional Irish sounds. The band consists of siblings Andrea, Sharon, Caroline, and Jim Corr, who have successfully combined modern pop melodies with the beautiful melodies of Irish folk music.

Key Highlights

  • Success as a Family Band: Their harmonies and musical unity are unmatched, resulting in a series of popular songs that resonate worldwide.
  • Famous Songs and Albums: Tracks like “Breathless” and “Runaway” have become timeless classics, while albums such as “Talk on Corners” and “In Blue” showcase their versatility.

Musical Fusion

The Corrs are known for their talent in blending traditional instruments like the tin whistle and fiddle into their music. This combination not only showcases their Irish roots but also adds a unique touch to their sound. Their skill in playing these instruments can be heard in songs like “Toss the Feathers,” where they seamlessly blend modern pop elements with traditional Irish melodies.

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8. Westlife

Westlife, one of the most successful Irish boy bands, has left an indelible mark on the pop music landscape. Formed in 1998, this group quickly rose to fame with their harmonious vocals and catchy melodies.

Key Highlights

  • Chart-Topping Hits: Westlife boasts an impressive array of hits, including “Swear It Again,” “Flying Without Wings,” and “World of Our Own.” Their ability to consistently produce chart-toppers earned them a devoted fan base worldwide.
  • Loyal Fan Base: The band’s relationship with their fans is notable. Their loyal followers have supported them through numerous tours and album releases, cementing their status as pop icons.
  • Notable Achievements: Westlife has achieved significant milestones, such as breaking records for the most consecutive number-one singles in the UK.

Impact on Boy Band Culture

In the late 90s and early 2000s, Westlife played a pivotal role in popularizing boy band culture. Their polished image, coupled with heartfelt ballads and dance tracks, set a standard for other groups to follow.

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9. Celtic Woman

Celtic Woman is a unique traditional Irish band that stands out for their ability to blend classic Irish music with contemporary elements. Since their formation in 2004, this all-female vocal group has mesmerized audiences around the world with their enchanting harmonies and captivating performances.

Key Highlights:

  • Powerful Vocal Performances: The group is famous for their exceptional singing abilities, often showcasing intricate arrangements that highlight the unique talents of each member.
  • International Recognition: Celtic Woman has gained a significant following internationally, selling millions of albums and consistently topping charts in various countries.

Notable Albums and Collaborations:

  • Their debut album Celtic Woman became an instant hit, leading to numerous tours and live recordings.
  • A New Journey and Songs from the Heart are also noteworthy works that have received widespread praise.
  • They have collaborated with well-known artists and orchestras, further expanding their appeal worldwide.

For those who want to experience a fresh take on traditional Irish music, Celtic Woman offers an unforgettable listening experience. Their achievements showcase the timeless beauty of Irish musical heritage in today’s world. If you’re planning a wedding in Ireland and looking forpersonalized wedding bands that can create magical moments, you might want to consider checking outLong Time Coming. This professional wedding band provides a hassle-free service and offers variouswedding entertainment packages to suit your needs.

10. Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy is a legendary hard rock band that has made a significant impact not only in Ireland but worldwide. They have redefined the genre with their distinctive twin guitar harmonies, leaving a lasting impression on rock music.

Key Highlights

  • Twin Guitar Harmonies: One of Thin Lizzy’s defining features is their intricate guitar work, especially the harmonized leads played by Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. This technique has been imitated by numerous bands since.
  • Famous Songs and Albums: Songs like “The Boys Are Back in Town” and “Jailbreak” are still beloved anthems in the rock community. Albums such as “Live and Dangerous” perfectly capture their electrifying live performances.

Phil Lynott’s Impact

Frontman Phil Lynott was a true pioneer, not only for his musical talents but also for his individuality. As a biracial rock musician in the 70s, Lynott shattered barriers and became an inspiration for many future artists. His lyrics often drew from his own life experiences, bringing depth to Thin Lizzy’s music.

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11. Clannad

Clannad is a unique Irish band that combines folk and rock elements to create a magical musical experience. Since their formation in 1970, they have captivated audiences with their haunting vocals and beautiful melodies.

Key Highlights

  • Ethereal Soundscapes: Clannad’s music is known for its dreamy harmonies and haunting vocals. Moya Brennan’s voice, in particular, has a mystical quality that transports listeners to another world.
  • Notable Songs and Albums: Some of their most famous works include “Theme from Harry’s Game”, the albums “Macalla” and “Legend”. Their music often blends traditional instruments with modern production techniques.
  • Influence on TV Soundtracks: Clannad gained wider recognition when they contributed to the soundtrack of the TV series Robin Hood. This showcased how Irish music can enhance visual storytelling.

Clannad’s ability to push boundaries while staying true to their roots has made them a significant presence in Irish music. Whether you’re organizing an event or simply interested in discovering more Irish bands,Long Time Coming can provide expert guidance to help you find the perfect fit, just like Clannad did for Robin Hood’s soundtrack. 

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12. Horslips: The Trailblazers of Celtic Rock

When it comes to famous bands in Ireland, Horslips stands out for their innovative fusion of Celtic music with rock elements. Emerging in the early 1970s, they pioneered the Celtic rock genre by blending traditional Irish melodies with the energy and instrumentation of rock.

Key Highlights

  • Impact on Celtic Rock Genre: Horslips’ unique sound significantly influenced the development of Celtic rock, making them a trailblazer in the genre.
  • Famous Songs and Albums: They released several notable albums, including The Táin, The Book of Invasions, and Dancehall Sweethearts. Songs like “Dearg Doom” and “Trouble (With A Capital T)” remain iconic.

Mythology and Folklore Themes

Horslips often drew inspiration from Irish mythology and folklore. Their concept album The Táin is a stellar example, retelling the ancient epic tale of the Táin Bó Cúailnge through a mix of traditional instruments and modern rock flair.

For those interested in exploring more about Irish bands and their musical heritage, you can also delve into the rich history ofCeltic wedding bands, which have deep roots in Ireland’s culture.”.

The Legacy of Irish Bands

The diversity of Irish music is truly amazing. Even though Ireland is a small country, its music scene has produced bands that have made a lasting impact on the world stage. These bands, with their unique sounds and captivating storytelling, have not only entertained but also deeply influenced listeners all over the globe.

Irish bands have played a significant role in shaping the Irish music industry. From the hauntingly beautiful traditional tunes of The Dubliners to U2’s powerful rock hits, each band brings something special to the mix. This range demonstrates the country’s ability to be creative while still honoring its origins.

Why Irish Bands Matter?

Here are some reasons why Irish bands have such a strong influence:

  • Enduring Popularity: Irish bands continue to be loved by many people. Their music connects with different generations, showing that great art can stand the test of time.
  • Cultural Impact: Through their heartfelt lyrics and memorable melodies, these bands explore universal topics like love, grief, and self-discovery, making their music relatable to audiences worldwide.

The impact of these artists goes beyond just their albums; they serve as inspiration for new musicians in Ireland and across the globe. Whether it’s the rebellious attitude of The Pogues or the enchanting harmonies of Celtic Woman, Irish bands offer a diverse range of styles that keeps growing and fascinating listeners.


Exploring the discographies of these 12 best Irish bands will surely provide a deep appreciation for the immense talent that has emerged from Ireland. Each band offers a unique sound and has made significant contributions to the Irish music scene.

For those who wish to experience the magic of live performances, visiting local pubs and music venues in Ireland is highly recommended. Witnessing contemporary Irish artists perform can be a truly enchanting experience, allowing you to connect with the rich musical heritage of the country.

To delve deeper into Irish music, consider exploring other articles and resources that highlight more great Irish bands across different genres. The journey through Ireland’s musical landscape is bound to be an unforgettable one, filled with heartfelt storytelling and captivating melodies.

Explore, listen, and let the music of these incredible Irish bands enrich your soul. Sláinte!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are some of the criteria used for selecting the 12 best Irish bands of all time?

The criteria used for selecting these bands include their cultural impact, musical innovation, and lasting legacy. Each band has made a significant contribution to the rich musical heritage of Ireland and has influenced various genres and artists over the years.

What is the key takeaway from this article about Irish bands?

The key takeaway is to explore the incredible talent that has emerged from Ireland by showcasing the 12 best Irish bands of all time, spanning different styles ranging from traditional to contemporary. The article aims to highlight the enduring popularity of Irish bands and their contribution to the diversity of the country’s music scene.

What is the significance of The Dubliners in traditional Irish music?

The Dubliners have had a significant influence on the folk music scene in Ireland and beyond. They are renowned for their contribution to traditional Irish music and have a rich discography of notable songs and albums that showcase their impact on the genre.

How would you describe The Pogues’ unique blend of punk and folk music?

The Pogues are known for their unique blend of punk and folk music, which has contributed to their cultural significance in Ireland and their impact on other bands. Their lyrics often reflect themes of Irish identity, politics, and social issues, adding depth to their musical style.

What are some key highlights of U2’s rise to fame as one of the world’s biggest rock bands?

U2’s rise to fame is characterized by their musical evolution and experimentation, as well as their notable albums and achievements. The band’s frontman, Bono, also plays a significant role as a social activist within the group.

How have The Chieftains promoted traditional Irish music internationally?

The Chieftains are renowned for promoting traditional Irish music internationally through collaborations with artists from different genres and creating soundtracks for films like ‘Barry Lyndon’, which has helped popularize Irish music beyond traditional circles.

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