St Patrick’s Day: The Best Of Irish Musicianship

We love celebrating music! With so many incredible musicians coming out of the UK, we think it’s important to spend some time reflecting on the best, biggest and freshest names in each country’s history.

Today, in connection with St Patrick’s Day, we’re focusing on the incredible musicians from across the Irish Sea. From household names to some which you might not have heard in a while, this list will be sure to cover some of the boldest and most fascinating names in Irish musicianship.

Read More: Why not also check out our selection of our favourite Scottish musicians, or our favourite welsh musicians!

So grab yourself a drink and let’s dive in! 

The Corrs

Of course The Corrs were going to make this list! Seamlessly blending pop rock with traditional Irish feel, the iconic siblings from  Dundalk found international fame in the 1990s, going on to sell 40 million albums. The band are a fantastic example of multi-instrumentalism, and everything from vocals, tin whistles, ukuleles, violins, guitars, pianos, percussion and even bodhrán can be found in their songs.

The group released their sixth studio album in 2015 after a ten year break, following up with a seventh album in 2017, if you’re looking for a band who really bring Irish to the forefront of what they do, The Corrs have got you covered!

Hozier

Andrew John Hozier-Byrne was born in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland and grew up in the Irish countryside, near the village of Delgany. Hozier’s iconic raspy soul sound may not immediately spring to irish traditional music, however his iconic single ‘Take Me To Church’ in 2013 which was certified multi-platinum in several countries, including the US, the UK, and Canada certainly reflects the religious terminology and themes found throughout Irish tradition. Upon release, its music video went viral as it follows a relationship between two men and subsequent violent homophobic backlash.

Enya

From the quaint parish of Gweedore, Enya began her career in the 1980s, performing traditional Irish music before embarking on a hugely successful solo career. Since then Enya has continued to skyrocket to superstardom through her instantly recognisable sound and ethereal soundscapes. 

We love a musician who continued to push boundaries and Enya’s discography certainly melds new age, Celtic, classical, church, and folk music in a way that few other do! Her 2000, album A Day Without Rain became the top-selling album in the US with 15 million copies sold. Following 9/11, sales of the album and its lead single, Only Time, skyrocketed after it was used by several radio and television networks in their coverage and aftermath of the attacks.

Philip Martin

Born in Dublin, Martin has composed four piano concertos, a symphony and major choral works. He has recorded the complete piano music of the colourful 19th century pianist and composer, Gottschalk. He has given many first performances in the UK of works by William Schuman, Lukas Foss, Leonard Bernstein, and the first performance in Ireland of Samuel Barber’s piano concerto.

U2

Sometimes it feels as though U2 are always in the back of your mind when it comes to musical icons, with a careers stretching over 4 decades, U2 are the only group in music history to have No 1 albums four decades in a row: The 1980s, ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s.


As many Irish musicians have, U2 are also known to comment on political factors every so often, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, describes the horror felt by an observer of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, mainly focusing on the 1972.

The Cranberries

When it comes to sinister vibes and creepy crawlies, The Cranberries are one of the leading names, Vocalist Dolores O’Riordan’s uniquely passifying tones inspired millions before she tragically passed away in 2018. The bands use of melancholic lyricism and melody created a truly unique sound within the irish music scene and their iconic protest song ‘Zombie’, written about the 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington, still rings powerfully to this day.

Van Morrison

Sir George Ivan Morrison OBE began his professional began as a teenager in the late 1950s, playing a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands.

His solo career began in 1967, under the pop-hit orientated guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single “Brown Eyed Girl”. Across his career, Van Morrison has had more than his fair share of hits with more than forty hitting the UK top forty.

Much of Morrison’s music draws influence from soul music and R&B, but his music also demonstrates a fantastic blending of  influence from Celtic tradition, jazz – some have even noted this genre as “Celtic soul”.

Of course there are still a whole host of other Irish names that we could include here, but this is a great place to start your journey to celebrating St Patrick’s day in style! Did we miss your favourites? Get in touch with us on social media @millersmusic or use #MillersMusic for your chance to feature and share your sound with the world!

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