irish music

Irish Music: Traditional and Modern

They say music is in many ways the outpouring of a country’s tradition and culture. Ireland is a country with rich culture and history as well as musical and artistic influences. The Irish are known for their love for music and dance. Irish Music is a collective term for a type of music that has been created in various genres on the entire island of Ireland.

Here are some of the genres of Irish music that came to life through the years.

Celtic Music – A part of the Irish Culture

Celtic music is also considered to be a part of the Irish culture. Ireland also saw a lot of music groups gaining popularity on the international map. Celtic music has come to apply to an easy-listening, ‘mood’ music with dreamy, non-specific but Irish/Scots flavor which has a relaxing appeal to listeners.

The Traditional Music Of Ireland

The music of this European island is called Irish traditional music. The music in Ireland has kept many of its traditional aspects and has itself influenced many forms of music. United States has a strong Irish influence on their modern rock music. This traditional music in Ireland is still in existence despite the influences of other forms of music from abroad.


Classical Irish Music


Classical Irish music has remained vibrant through the 20th into the 21st centuries, despite globalising cultural forces. Amongst the most honored in classical Irish music is Sir James Galway which has always been dubbed to be an outstanding flautist.


Irish Dance Music


Parallel to this song tradition, there is Irish dance music. The two main Irish dance music are the jigs which is a slow dance and the reels which is a tradition imported from Scotland. Beside these two main styles, we have hornpipes, polkas, barn dances, waltzes and many others, imported from several parts of Europe. Irish polkas have very little resemblance to the Polish ones.

irish dance


Instrumentation in Irish Music

Traditional Irish uilleann pipes


Uilleann Pipes are considered to be the main root of Irish music instrumentation. This instrument is different from the Highland bagpipes played by military bands. Other instruments used in Irish music include the following:


  • the Fiddle (violin)
  • the Flute and whistle
  • the Button Accordion


Instruments later adopted by Irish music include:

  • Banjo
  • Citern
  • Mandolin


More recent developments Instrumentation in Irish music include:

  • guitar
  • piano
  • drums like the Bodhran (pronounced BOW-rahn)



Modern Irish Music

In recent decades Irish music in many different genres has been very successful internationally. However, the most successful genres have been rock, popular and traditional fusion

Artists using traditional elements in their music include:

  • Van Morrison – Grammy Award-winning Northern Irish singer, songwriter, author, poet and multi-instrumentalist, who has been a professional musician since the late 1950s
  • Hothouse Flowers – Irish rock group that combines traditional Irish music with influences from soul, gospel and rock
  • Sinéad O’Connor – Grammy Award winning Irish singer and songwriter


Irish musicians who used other musical fusions include:

  • Enya – achieved international success with New Age/Celtic fusions
  • The Pogues – fuse Irish folk with punk rock to some success beginning in the 1980s
  • Afro-Celt Sound System – achieved fame adding West African influences and drum n bass in the 1990s


Irish musicians who used Celtic mysticism include:

  • Fainne Lasta
  • Raithneach and Amhann na Ngealach
  • Clannad


This type of music was popularised by Clannad. This band has given a unique voice to modern Irish music. They have combined a deep love of traditional strains with a bold approach to writing and recording

irish rock band

Irish rock bands include:

  • U2
  • The Boomtown Rats
  • Undertones

U2 – Ireland’s Rocking Pride

U2 is a top international act from Dublin, noted for their anthemic sound, Bono’s impassioned vocal. U2 have developed and maintained a distinct sound, with emphasis on expressive instrumentals and awesome vocals. U2 have sold more than 140 million albums worldwide. They have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band. In 2005, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Irish Punk rock artists include:

Punk rock music has entered Ireland in full in the late 1970s

  • Gavin Friday
  • Bob Geldof
  • Stiff Little Fingers


Irish alternative rock artists include:

  • That Petrol Emotion
  • My Bloody Valentine
  • Ash


Celtic metal bands include:

  • Cruachan
  • Geasa
  • Waylander


Other artists well-known as popular music performers include:

  •  Phil Coulter
  •  Daniel O’Donnell
  •  Eleanor McEvoy
  •  Finbar Wright
  • Mary Black


Irish pop bands include:

In the 1990s, pop bands emerged from Ireland and they have claimed international fame.

  • the Corrs
  •  B*Witched
  • Boyzone
  • The Cranberries
  • Westlife

Add comment

Your Header Sidebar area is currently empty. Hurry up and add some widgets.