Best Irish Bands in Ireland

We Found the Top 12 Irish Bands in Ireland That Shine Brighter Than Leprechauns

We all have those songs that we can’t help but belt out in the shower – “With or Without You,” “Galway Girl,” “Zombie” – they just seem to appear out of nowhere. Maybe it’s the age (or not!), but I just discovered that Irish bands created these anthems.

My shower soundtrack revelation got me thinking—a whole world of incredible Irish music must be explored! 

It turns out that I was right, and in this list, I’ll share with you the 12 legendary Irish bands I found. If you’re ready to expand your knowledge of Irish music and discover some hidden gems, this list is for you! 

1. The Dubliners


The Dubliners were an influential Irish folk band formed in Dublin in 1962. The band’s success stemmed from their lively performances and vast repertoire of Irish folk songs, traditional ballads, and instrumentals. 

They brought a pub sing-along atmosphere to stages worldwide. The Dubliners’ rotating lineup featured many talented musicians over their long careers, but lead singers Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew were central to the band’s enduring popularity.  

2. The Pogues


The Pogues were an Anglo-Irish Celtic punk band formed in London in 1982. The band was fronted by the charismatic but troubled Shane MacGowan, whose songwriting often explored themes of working-class life, Irish history, and the darker sides of love. 

One of their most famous songs, “Fairytale of New York,” is a holiday classic despite its bittersweet lyrics about a tumultuous relationship. The Pogues achieved international fame in the 1980s and early 1990s before disbanding in 1996. 

3. U2


U2 is a legendary Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1976. The band consists of four members: Bono on vocals, The Edge on guitar, Adam Clayton on bass, and Larry Mullen Jr. on drums.

Its 1987 album The Joshua Tree is a classic, featuring hits like “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” U2 is one of the most successful bands in history, selling over 170 million albums worldwide. 

4. The Chieftains


The Chieftains are a traditional Irish folk band formed in Dublin in 1962. Their sound is almost entirely instrumental and prominently features the uilleann pipes, a type of Irish bagpipe.  

They won six Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. They’ve worked with country music stars, rock and roll legends, and other folk musicians worldwide. 

5. The Cranberries


The Cranberries were an influential Irish rock band formed in Limerick in 1989. Their music was known for its catchy melodies, Dolores O’Riordan’s distinctive vocals, and thoughtful lyrics exploring love, loss, and social issues.

They’re known for a string of hit songs in the 1990s, including “Linger,” “Dreams,” and the iconic protest song “Zombie.”  Their albums, mainly “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” and “No Need to Argue,” sold millions of copies worldwide. 

6. Snow Patrol


Snow Patrol is famous for its alternative rock sound, which blends power pop, post-Britpop, and indie rock elements. Their music is known for its emotional depth and soaring vocals, often exploring love, loss, and hope themes.  

One of their most famous songs, “Chasing Cars,” gained massive popularity after being featured in the movie “Grey’s Anatomy.” The band has also had several other hit songs, including “Run,” “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” and “Just Say Yes.”

7. The Corrs


The Corrs are a prosperous Irish family band known for blending pop rock with traditional Irish music. Their big break came in 1995 with the release of their debut album “Forgiven Not Forgotten,” which achieved international success.

The Corrs have sold over 40 million albums worldwide and are known for hit songs like “Breathless” and “Runaway.” Their music incorporates the violin, guitar, drums, and traditional Irish instruments like the tin whistle and bodhrán. 

8. Westlife


Westlife is an Irish pop group formed in Dublin in 1998. Initially a five-piece boyband, the group consisted of Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne, but the band disbanded in 2012 after 14 years together.

They are among the most successful Irish bands, selling over 50 million records worldwide. Some of their most famous hits include “Flying Without Wings,” “Swear It Again,” and “My Love.”

9. Celtic Women


Celtic Woman is an all-female Irish musical ensemble. Formed in 2004 for a single performance in Dublin, their success on PBS specials launched them into international fame.

Their music blends traditional Irish folk tunes with contemporary pop and classical influences, resulting in a sound often called “Riverdance for the voice.” It has achieved remarkable consistency, being named Billboard World Album Artist of the Year six times.  

10. Thin Lizzy


Thin Lizzy, formed in Dublin in 1969, is a legendary Irish hard rock band. They’re one of the greatest of the genre, known for their electrifying live shows and a sound that blended hard rock with elements of blues rock, folk, and even a touch of heavy metal.

Their music is characterized by Lynott’s powerful vocals and insightful songwriting. They often tackle rebellion, masculinity, and Irish heritage themes. Standout tracks include “The Boys Are Back in Town,” “Whiskey in the Jar,” and “Jailbreak.”

11. Clannad


Clannad is a well-respected Irish band formed in 1970 by siblings and their uncles in Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland. They began their career as an acoustic folk group, primarily performing traditional Irish songs, often sung in Irish. 

Clannad’s willingness to embrace various influences while staying true to their Irish roots has made them famous. Their hit song, “Theme from Harry’s Game,” was featured in the popular TV series Brideshead Revisited.

12. The Horslips


The Horslips are a legendary Irish band credited as the pioneers of Celtic rock. Formed in Dublin in 1970, they took traditional Irish music – lively jigs, reels, and airs – and fused them with the driving energy of rock and roll.  

The band released twelve albums during their initial run, with “The Táin,” “The Book Of Invasions,” and “The Man Who Built America” being some of their most popular.  The Horslips disbanded in 1980 but enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the late 1990s.