The Most Popular Irish Song: Ranking the Beloved Melodies of Ireland

Choose the song you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 27, 2024 06:12
Welcome to StrawPoll's ultimate ranking of the most popular Irish songs! Immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies and heart-stirring lyrics that have captured the hearts of generations. Dive into the magical world of Irish music, where every note tells a story of love, loss, and the indomitable Irish spirit. Thousands of polls and rankings await your vote, as you help us determine the crème de la crème of these Emerald Isle classics. Whether you're an ardent fan of "Danny Boy" or can't resist swaying to "The Fields of Athenry," it's time to make your voice heard! Discover songs that might have slipped under your radar, or suggest a hidden gem that deserves its place in the limelight. So, grab a pint of your favorite brew, sit back, and embark on a captivating journey through the most beloved Irish tunes of all time – only on StrawPoll!

What Is the Most Popular Irish Song?

  1. 1
    This is arguably the most popular Irish song and has been covered by countless artists in various genres. Its emotional lyrics and haunting melody have made it a favorite for generations.
    Danny Boy is a popular Irish folk song that is renowned for its haunting melody and touching lyrics. It is considered one of the most beautiful and beloved Irish songs of all time. The song evokes a sense of longing and nostalgia and has become a symbol of Irish cultural heritage and emotive storytelling.
    • Genre: Irish folk
    • Melody: Haunting and melancholic
    • Lyrics: Touching and sentimental
    • Language: English
    • Cultural Importance: Symbol of Irish heritage
    Danny Boy in other rankings
  2. 2
    This traditional Irish folk song has been covered by many artists, including Metallica. Its catchy melody and playful lyrics make it a popular sing-along at pubs and parties.
    Whiskey in the Jar is a traditional Irish folk song that tells the story of a highwayman who is betrayed by his lover. The song showcases the themes of love, betrayal, and life on the road. It has become one of the most popular and widely recognized Irish folk songs.
    • Genre: Irish folk song
    • Origin: Ireland
    • First recorded: Unknown (traditional song, variations have been recorded since the early 20th century)
    • Popularized by: The Dubliners in the 1960s
    • Lyrics language: English (some variations include Gaelic lines)
  3. 3
    The Wild Rover
    from Ireland · Public domain
    Another popular pub song, "The Wild Rover" is known for its upbeat melody and catchy chorus. It has been covered by many artists and is often played at sporting events.
    The Wild Rover is a popular Irish folk song that tells the story of a young man who has forsaken his wild and drunken ways to live a more sober and responsible life. The song has become a staple in Irish music and is often performed at social gatherings and in pubs.
    • Genre: Irish Folk
    • Language: English
    • First recorded: Unknown
    • Year of creation: Unknown
    • Key: G Major
  4. 4
    Molly Malone
    Wilson44691 · CC BY-SA 3.0
    This classic Irish song tells the story of a fishmonger in Dublin and has become a symbol of the city. It is often played at St. Patrick's Day celebrations and other Irish events.
    Molly Malone, also known as 'Cockles and Mussels', is a popular Irish folk song that tells the tragic tale of a young fishmonger named Molly Malone who died of a fever. The song highlights the bustling streets of Dublin and pays tribute to the working class women of the city.
    • Alternative Titles: 'Cockles and Mussels'
    • Genre: Folk song
    • Language: English
    • Origin: Ireland
    • Year: 19th century
    Molly Malone in other rankings
  5. 5

    The Fields of Athenry

    Pete St. John
    This song tells the story of a man who was imprisoned for stealing food to feed his family during the Irish Famine. Its powerful lyrics and stirring melody have made it a popular anthem for Irish pride.
    The Fields of Athenry is a widely known and beloved Irish folk ballad. It tells the story of a fictional character named Michael, who is sentenced to transportation to Australia for stealing corn during the Great Famine in Ireland. The song captures the emotions of loss, resilience, and hope amidst adversity.
    • Genre: Folk
    • Key: D Major
    • Language: English
    • Year of Composition: 1979
    • Duration: Around 4 minutes
    The Fields of Athenry in other rankings
  6. 6
    This modern Irish song, made famous by Ed Sheeran, is a catchy love song that celebrates the beauty of Galway and its people. Its upbeat melody and fun lyrics make it a favorite for dancing.
    Galway Girl in other rankings
  7. 7
    This fast-paced Irish folk song tells the story of a man's journey from his hometown to Dublin. Its lively melody and rapid-fire lyrics make it a challenging but fun song to sing.
    The Rocky Road to Dublin is a traditional Irish song that tells the story of a journey from the rural countryside to the bustling city of Dublin. It captures the struggles and adventures of the traveler as he navigates through various obstacles and encounters along the way.
    • Genre: Irish folk
    • Lyrics Language: English
    • Duration: Approximately 3 minutes
    • Instrumentation: Typically features fiddle, bodhrán (Irish drum), guitar, banjo, and tin whistle
    • Melody: Lively, upbeat, and highly melodic
  8. 8
    This traditional Irish ballad tells the story of a man who is falsely accused of stealing and sent to Australia. Its catchy melody and dramatic story have made it a popular song for Irish bands to cover.
    The Black Velvet Band is a popular traditional Irish folk song that tells the story of a young man who is deceived and wrongfully convicted by a woman he meets in a tavern. The song focuses on themes of love, betrayal, and the consequences of one's actions.
    • Genre: Irish folk
    • Language: English
    • Date of creation: Unknown, likely in the 19th century
    • Popularized by: Various artists, including The Dubliners and Luke Kelly
    • Duration: Around 3 minutes
  9. 9
    This rollicking Irish folk song tells the story of a ship that sets sail from Ireland to America. Its catchy chorus and upbeat melody make it a popular choice for parties and festivals.
    The Irish Rover is a traditional Irish folk song that tells the story of a massive and legendary sailing ship. The song describes the adventures, mishaps, and colorful characters encountered during the ship's voyages around the world.
    • Genre: Irish folk
    • Language: English
    • Length: Approximately 4 minutes
    • First recorded: Recorded by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in 1962
    • Instrumentation: Typically features traditional folk instruments like guitar, banjo, fiddle, tin whistle, bodhrán (Irish drum), and accordion
  10. 10
    This beautiful Irish ballad tells the story of a man who longs to return to his hometown of Carrickfergus. Its poignant lyrics and haunting melody have made it a favorite for Irish singers and musicians.
    Carrickfergus is a traditional Irish folk ballad that tells the story of longing and nostalgia. It is considered one of the most beautiful Irish songs, known for its haunting melody and heartfelt lyrics. The song is often performed as a slow, emotional ballad and has been covered by numerous artists over the years.
    • Genre: Irish folk
    • Released: Unknown (traditional song)
    • Language: English
    • Length: Varies, typically around 4-6 minutes
    • Meter: 4/4

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Ranking factors for popular song

  1. Historical and cultural significance
    The song should have a strong connection to Irish history, culture, or folklore. It should represent Irish identity and values.
  2. Popularity and recognition
    The song should be widely known and appreciated both in Ireland and internationally. It should have stood the test of time and continue to be popular across generations.
  3. Musical appeal
    The melody, lyrics, and overall sound of the song should be engaging, memorable, and pleasing to the ear. It should invoke the unique charm and spirit of Irish music.
  4. Emotional resonance
    The song should evoke a strong emotional response, be it feelings of joy, nostalgia, or pride in one's heritage. It should resonate with people both inside and outside the Irish community.
  5. Influence and impact
    The song should have had a significant impact on the Irish music scene and beyond. It should have influenced other artists and contributed to the ongoing development and preservation of Irish music.
  6. Chart performance and awards
    The song’s performance on music charts, sales, and recognition in the form of awards or other accolades can also be considered as a key factor.
  7. Reinterpretations and covers
    The popularity and relevance of a song can also be measured by the number of reinterpretations and covers by other artists, as well as the cultural impact of those versions.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Irish song. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or song is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 139 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each song once every 24 hours. The rank of each song is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular irish song

Ireland is a country rich in culture and history, and music plays a significant role in both. From traditional folk songs to modern hits, Irish music has captured the hearts of people around the world. When it comes to the most popular Irish songs, there are many contenders, each with their own unique story and appeal. Whether it's the haunting melody of "Danny Boy," the rousing chorus of "Whiskey in the Jar," or the timeless charm of "The Wild Rover," there's no shortage of beloved tunes to choose from. So, which Irish song is the most popular? Let's take a closer look at some of the top contenders and find out.

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