Image Credit: Eugene Adebari/Shutterstock
While traditional Irish music is entirely appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day, sometimes, you want to listen to something that makes you want to pogo around like a lunatic. Thankfully, Ireland has a rich history of punk and rock bands, and we here at HollywoodLife have compiled a playlist below for your enjoyment. While this list is by no means complete, there are plenty of groups to jam while drinking back a pint of your favorite Irish red ale safely at home until we get the go-ahead to return to the pubs.
The above playlists are full of a few older songs, but the Irish punk/rock scene is alive and thriving. Fontaines D.C. has been credited with leading the recent post-punk revival in their homeland, with bands like Silverbacks, Gilla Band, Sprints, NewDad, and Just Mustard making Ireland one of the most exciting places for music. Pop-punkers Cherym released their Hey Tori EP in 2021, which included their infectious hit, “Listening to My Head.” Pixie Cut Rhythm Orchestra may skew a bit towards the indie side of rock, but their 2021 single, “I Didn’t Love You when I Said I Did and I Don’t Now,” will be a pub sing-along before you know it. One could easily make a 24-hour playlist of all the current amazing rock/punk bands in Ireland (without even diving deeper into the country’s hip-hop or metal scene.) Take this more as a sampler to get you hungry for more.
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Even boy band royalty is getting into the indie (post-indie?) sound. Niall Horan released “Heaven” in 2023, and while it’s not going to hit hard as a song by The Murder Capital (also an Irish punk band), it’s still indie enough to qualify for this list.
When it comes to Irish punk, a handful of bands immediately springs to mind for some oldheads—one of them, Stiff Little Fingers, formed in 1977 during the first wave of punk. The group still performs and records, though vocalist and guitarist Jake Burns is the only remaining original member. If you want to check them out, try spinning Nobody’s Heroes. It’s one of the best albums ever and perfect to play while drinking down some Bushmills with your mates on Zoom.
The Nips (aka the Nipple Erectors) are also from that early era of punk rock, and the band (fronted by the fierce Shanne Bradley) is noted as being Shane MacGowan’s first group. He would form The Pogues in London (though they’re still technically considered an Irish band.) He’s still playing as part of Shane MacGowan and The Popes.
Stiff Little Fingers in concert at The Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom in 2018 (Shutterstock)
Shane and the Pogues have been credited with creating a whole new subgenre of music: Celtic punk. This music was made popular in the States by groups like Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, and more. Yes, the Dropkicks are technically not an Irish punk band (which is no surprise considering how much the group reps Boston.) The Beantown heroes play Irish-themed punk, but they’re so synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day they even get made fun of for it. “Dropkick Murphys Chained Up In Basement Until Next St. Patrick’s Day,” claims The Hard Times, a satirical punk publication (think The Onion meets The Decline Of Western Civilization). However, the Dropkick Murphy’s 2022 cover of “We Shall Overcome” was done in earnest and… it’s much better to listen to “Barroom Hero” instead.
The Undertones in 1983 (Shutterstock)
While Thin Lizzy is a staple of most classic rock stations, you can’t go wrong with throwing “Jailbreak” or “The Boys Are Back In Town” in the mix. If you’re in the mood for something more groovy, there are The Boomtown Rats. The group, fronted by Bob Geldof, dipped their toes in all sorts of genres — ska, new wave, and punk — before breaking up in 1986. There’s always Dublin’s Chewing On Tinfoil for a more modern, faster ska-punk. There are so many other Irish punk bands – from the political punk of Distorted Vision to the original Celtic rockers, The Tossers – so check them out. Add them to your rotation, and remember: wear a mask, get vaccinated, and don’t take your drink into the mosh pit.
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