Top 10 Irish Rock Acts EVER

St. Paddy’s is upon us and it’s one of my absolute favourite holidays because let’s face it – EVERYONE IS IRISH on St. Paddy’s. So to help you celebrate, here is a list of bands that should definitely be featured on your party’s playlist!

1. The Pogues

The mother of all Irish bands, the Pogues are actually English, though their music tells a different tale. Shane McGowan started out in the Brit punk scene of the late 70’s hanging with bands like The Sex Pistols, and he brought that attitude to a more traditional Irish sound and influenced any Irish band that came after. They released many albums, until Shane was fired from the band for his large intake of drink and drugs as well as questionable professional behaviour.  And probably his teeth, too.

2. Dropkick Murphys

The contemporary punk version of the Pogues, these Boston born hooligans are easily one of the biggest punk bands in the world. In the last few years they have seen a big increase in popularity due to their affiliation with the Red Sox and Bruins, as well as the push they got from Martin Scorsese in his movie “The Departed”. I have seen this band like 7 times, going as far as driving to BOSTON to see them on St. Paddys a few years back. That was such an awesome experience and I’d recommend everyone does it or at least check them out next time they’re in your town. They always have good openers, too.

3. U2

I personally can’t stand what U2 has become over the last 15 years, but you can’t deny their first few albums including “Boy”, “War” “October” and “The Joshua Tree” were absolutely top-notch. These three albums are chalked full of tales of Ireland. I also think Larry Mullen does something very original with his drumming that makes it sound extremely Irish. That movie “Blown Away” is the reason I still enjoy this band – what a classic. I once briefly met The Edge and Bono by chance (who were hanging with Colin Farrell at the time) and they acknowledged me, which is more than I can say for The Cult who snubbed the crap out of me after waiting an hour and a half in -20 degrees to meet them. Dicks.

4. Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy topped the charts with their version of “Whisky in the Jar” (later made famous by Metallica), a song which is originally an old Celtic classic. Though they are not necessarily a Celtic band, THEY ARE in fact one of the biggest bands from Ireland, ever. They basically invented the double lead guitar style, and topped the charts with many international hits. Long live Phil Lynott.

5. Flogging Molly

Another contemporary Irish act, these guys have been kicking ass for many years and are constantly putting out new material. They have a punk influence, but lean more to the side of traditional sounds, using the punk speed and aesthetic but classic Irish instrumentation on most of their stuff. A great band all around.

6. The Mahones

The only Canadian band on the list, the Mahones have been rocking for over 20 years and have earned a lot of notoriety in the last few years thanks to their song “Paint the Town Red” being featured in the movie “The Fighter” as well as from constant touring and work opening for bands like Dropkick Murphys.  The Mahones are another great example of a band who works hard a puts out tons of material.

7. Van Morrison

Van is the man. That is all.

8. Stiff Little Fingers

Original Irish punk bad boys, Stiff Little Fingers are the QUINTESSENTIAL Irish punk band. Though they do not sound like a traditional Irish band, their lyrics tell the tale of angst in Ireland in the 1970’s, kicking your ass with every word and crunchy riff. Bands like Green Day and the Offspring definitely took a page out of this band’s book.

9. The Undertones

The other well-known punk band from Ireland, these guys played heavy into 50’s pop influences as well as sing along choruses. Their song “Teenage Kicks” is a punk anthem, and they influenced a lot of bands.

10. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

They sure aren’t a Celtic band, but this band embodies the feeling of Boston and its Irish heritage. These guys are purely a drinking band, and are great background music for any late night Paddy’s bash.

What are some of your favourites that didn’t make the list? COMMENT BELOW!

22 Comments on Top 10 Irish Rock Acts EVER

  1. LasloPratt

    Horslips. Also, too, Horslips. Maybe you don’t know Horslips – but I can tell ya almost all the bands listed above will cite them as an influence, starting with the one you’ve got at #1. (Okay, Van Morrison isn’t going to cite Horslips. But the mere mortals – totally down with Horslips.

  2. DJ AC

    Blood or Whiskey, Chewing on Tinfoil, Flatfoot 56, The Rumjacks, and The Tossers deserve a spot (increase to Top 15 and you’re good)

  3. Michael Krilich

    Where are Horslips and why is there a Yank band on the list at No.2? and NO Rory? these are ALL impostors behind him except maybe Van.

  4. Brian Hendricks

    I have to second The Tossers as a band that should be on this list. Mighty Mighty Bosstones, a group I truly love, has no business being on this list, as they are far from being a Celtic band…you said so yourself!

  5. Stacey Jewell Au

    The Tossers should not only be on this list, but should be ranked high on the list. I’m bummed that this fantastic band was overlooked.

  6. Gerard Mellon

    “made famous by metallica” , what complete and utter nonsense!!!!!!!!!! And no Boomtown Rats ????WTF? As for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones well Jesus that’s just plain daft!!!!!

  7. Jack Carroll

    Horslips, Rory Gallagher and Black 47 fit the list better than The Bosstones. They are Celtic Rockers and considering that’s what you’re shooting .

  8. Jerry Cooney

    The Tossers were left off the list because the lead “singer” uses a fake Irish accent. But they are #1 on the list of Fake Irish Accent Singing Bands… so they got that going for them.

  9. Tom Brown

    Are you mad? No Rory Gallagher? If he’s not in the top 3 there’s no use moving down the list. Saw Doctors should be in here, gary moore with an honorable mention perhaps. Black 47 fits the list as well (I do miss going to see them, but I lost a little interest post chris byrne)
    I forgot the tossers too.

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