A violinist with the blog title 9 incredible Irish songs

We don't know if you've noticed but we love music here at Vagabond. For us, there's no better feeling than leading a happy group of Vagabonds or Driftwooders in a singalong, as they freewheel down the Wild Atlantic Way.

First we brought you 10 Irish Songs You Need To Know. Then you asked for more. So we brought you 10 More Irish Songs You Need To Know.

Now it's time for another sequel!

Sweeney's Men - Tom Dooley - 1967

The roots of modern Irish traditional music are surprisingly recent. A folk revival in the mid-1960s was led by bands like Sweeney's Men.

Modern Irish 'trad' is also distinctly international in its influence. Here, Sweeney's Men joined famous artists like Neil Young, The Grateful Dead and Bing Crosby to cover an Appalachian classic, in their own authentic style.

Band member Andy Irvine later wrote My Heart's Tonight In Ireland, about the early days of Sweeney's Men.

Planxty - Raggle Taggle Gypsy/Tabhair Dom Do Laimh - 1973

Planxty are an Irish folk group from the 1970s.

The opening song here, Raggle Taggle Gypsy, is lots of fun. But just wait for the change, about halfway through the video, to the rowsing instrumental Tabhair Dom Do Laimh (translation: Give Me Your Hand).

What a finale!

Individual members of Planxty have become Irish musical legends in their own right, most notably Paul Brady and Christy Moore. Master piper Liam Óg Ó Flynn sadly passed away in 2018.

The Black Family - Donkey Riding - 1986

The Black Family are Irish musical heavyweights, with Mary Black having forged her own solo career.

This track, Donkey Riding, is just a bit of fun. Giddy up!


The Voice Squad - Ae Fond Kiss - 1991

More acapella. A little more serious in tone this time!

Ae Fond Kiss is a folk love song, performed here by The Voice Squad; a traditional Irish singing group. Their version of The Parting Glass is also not to be missed.

Damien Dempsey - Factories - 2003

Singer/songwriter Damien Dempsey isn't the best known Irish folk singer internationally. But he's a fantastic live performer and has a passionate following in Ireland to this day.

Dempsey is notable for singing in an strong and unashamed Dublin accent - the accent of the inner city and a type of voice that you won't hear in Hollywood movies.

This song, Factories, documents Dempsey's bittersweet working-class upbringing in Dublin. It's possibly 'the most Irish thing you'll ever hear', as a YouTube comment aptly puts it.

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin - Medley - 2011

Classical music isn't the first thing that most people associate with Ireland.

Composer, pianist and performer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin integrated traditional Irish music with classical and jazz arrangements. He also founded and lectured at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.

Sadly, Ó Súilleabháin passed away in 2018. Here's a virtuoso performance of his with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra from 2011.


Anúna - Siúil A Rúin - 2012

Similarly leaning towards the classic side of Irish traditional music, Anúna are a vocal ensemble with a huge repertoire of both choral and more conventional traditional songs.

Siúil A Rúin (translation: Walk My Love) is a folk classic, having been previously recorded by Clannad as well as other artists.

The Gloaming - Samhradh Samhradh -2014

The Gloaming are unusual in that their musicians are also members of other prominent bands - an Irish traditional supergroup, if you will.

You may have already heard their music without realising it. Singer Iarla Ó'Lionáird had a showstopping cameo in the 2015 Saoirse Ronan movie, Brooklyn.

This song's title - Samhradh Samhradh - means 'Summer Summer' and its lyrics are linked to the Celtic festival of Bealtaine.

Lankum - The Young People - 2019

Hailing from Dublin, Lankum bring us right up to the present day.

They play traditional instruments like pipes and fiddles in an innovative way, combining conventional Irish lyrics and themes with electronica-esque drones.


Feature photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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