10 Best Irish Rock Songs

The 10 best Irish rock songs, like much of Irish music, poetry and literature, deal with heartache and longing and, occasionally, the urge to fight back. This list includes great pub songs, classic rock ballads, and some newer music, some of which echoes traditional Celtic music, while other selections rock like any American band. This list of the best Irish rock songs has quite a mix. Enjoy.

  1. "Moondance." With a recording career that covers five decades, Ireland's Van Morrison has a massive catalog of great songs. "Brown-Eyed Girl," "Into the Mystic," "Astral Weeks," and "And it Stoned Me" could all make the list. But the cool vibe and sexual innuendo of "Moondance" make it easily one of the best Irish rock songs ever.
  2. "I'm Shipping Up to Boston." Though they're an American band, the Dropkick Murphys play a brand of Irish rock that is uniquely their own and call upon roots that go all the back to Ireland. This Dropkick Murphys' song was used in the Martin Scorsese film, "The Departed," and was the entrance music for Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Very Bostonian, very Irish.
  3. "With or Without You." Like Van Morrison, U2 has dozens of great rock songs from which to choose. Fans all have their favorites, but this song from their album "The Joshua Tree," invokes the ache that is an Irish broken heart.
  4. "The Boys Are Back in Town." Dublin's Thin Lizzy released this 1970s classic rock tune on their album "Jailbreak" and made drinking, fighting and palling around with the lads seem like a total blast.
  5. "I Don't Like Mondays." Bob Geldoff and the Boomtown Rats scored their biggest hit in 1979 with a song based on a news story out of California about a schoolgirl who shot her principal and explained that she did it because she didn't like Mondays.
  6. "Chasing Cars." One of Snow Patrol's biggest hits is one of infatuation, confusion and longing. It became a big hit in the U.S. after it was used in the season finale of the second season of "Grey's Anatomy."
  7. "The Irish Rover." Recorded by the Pogues and the folk group the Dubliners in 1987, this is a traditional Irish song that has been sung and recorded by countless musicians through the years. In the song, the Irish Rover is a legendary ship that, like many subjects in Irish songs and stories, meets a sad end.
  8. "Breakeven (Falling to Pieces)." This 2009 hit by The Script tells of a breakup from the perspective of the guy and of the girl. The Script is a fairly mellow band, but this Dublin musical group makes some great music.
  9. "Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah." The Pogues made some awesome music in their prime and this one is as fun and rockin' as anything they ever recorded.
  10. "A Million Miles Away." Rory Gallagher, who grew up in Cork, came along soon after Van Morrison paved the way for Irish rockers, but he never received the acclaim that Morrison did. Sadly, Gallagher died in 1995 at age 47. But Irish rock fans still hold him dear, especially because of songs like this, which showcases his amazing guitar skills that should have held him in the same esteem as Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.
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