With the best ballads, singers and songwriters, we celebrate some of the best Irish love songs.
From traditional ballads and tears to tears to slightly more unorthodox sonic outpourings of affection, here are 16 favorites to add to your playlist.
What are your favorite Irish love songs?
1. Thin Lizzy – Don’t Believe a Word
West Bromwich-born singer Phil Lynott was raised on Moss Side, Manchester, before his mother sent him to Ireland to be raised by his grandparents in Crumlin. Where he learned to write tunes like this, who knows, but despite being a staunch denial of love (‘Don’t believe me if I tell you Especially if I tell you that I’m in love with you ‘), that’s a brilliant compliment to the back of a song.
Related: Phil Lynott: New Documentary About Thin Lizzy’s ‘Extraordinary’ Life
2. Fearsome shark – A good heart
Northern Ireland’s Sean Feargal Sharkey (former frontman of Derry’s “one and only punk band” The Undertones) is on the list for this solo effort inspired by romantic risk aversion. Perhaps the cutest of all Irish love songs, it rose to number one in Britain in 1985. Who could doubt Sharkey’s trembling voice when he sings “Please be Gentle with this heart of mine” ? The video is worth watching just for her hair.
For those interested in Fergal Sharkey – Sharkey lives in North London and is now President of Amwell Magna Fishery, Britain’s oldest angling club with a passion for the environment.
3. The Frank and Walters – After all
Cork’s beloved band The Frank and Walters hit the nail on the head with this upbeat alternative pop song about valuing the things that really matter. The lyrics are a prime example of low-key Irish romanticism: “I know we fight and our love is put aside, but it all ends well.” After all peaked at 11 on the British Singles Chart, securing the band a spot on The top of the pops in 1993. Check out the video with singer Paul Linehan making an excellent impression of Shaggy from Scooby doo.
4. Bell X 1 – Eve the apple of my eye
The combination of the rising voice of leader Paul Noonan and biblically inspired lyrics full of pathos pays off Eve the apple of my eyesits place on the list. Formed from the ashes of Juniper (when a guy called Damien Rice decided to go it alone), the Co. Kildare Bell X1 trio did very well on their own and are apparently the most played Irish band on radio after U2. . Fans of distressed adolescent dramas CO will recall that this song was the soundtrack of Mischa Barton’s lesbian kiss with blonde Olivia Wilde.
5. Ash – Brilliant light
Talk about a torch song, Shining light was the first single from Ash’s 2001 album Free Any Angels. It became the best-selling single from the pop-punk band Downpatrick, reaching number eight on the British Singles Chart. The group, who rose to fame while still in school, sold an impressive 22 million records worldwide. The fact that lead singer Tim Wheeler is now 37 makes me feel very, very old.
6. Lisa Hannigan – I don’t know
Extract from his magnificent 2008 album Sewing sea, Hannigan I do not know is all about finding information about her crush (she clearly doesn’t have Facebook). “I don’t know if you write letters or panic on the phone,” Hannigan sings in this innocent, witty, and delightfully honest song about falling for someone.
7. Sinead O’Connor – Nothing compares to you
Could there be something better in this world than Purple-loving sex pot prince, denying name and pint-size, writing a song for the owner of the most orgasmic Irish female voice and the most beautifully shaped head Sinead O’Connor? The lyrics to this 90s hit are epic, the strings and piano are breathtakingly beautiful and the video is a tearful masterclass.
8. U2 – With or without you
Bono and the Boys have several potential suitors for the best Irish love songs (including A and The sweetest thing written for Ali Hewson) corn With or without you made the list because Bono wears a leather vest with nothing underneath in the video and that was Ross and Rachel’s breakup song in Friends.
9. The Pogues – A rainy night in Soho
Apparently ssongwriter Shane MacGowan and producer Elvis Costello disagreeing on the song’s final mix, but there can be no argument that this heavily covered hit is dripping with teary-eyed romance. In the video below (shot at Town And Country Club in London) MacGowan is the image of the flawed, gurgling Irish tragi-romance hero “You are the measure of my dreams “swatter in hand, of course.
10. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – Falling Slowly
Could there be something more romantic than the fusion of a fictional and real love story – as was the case with Frames frontman Hansard and the unknown Irglova who met while collaborating on the film at unexpected success Once. This song won an Oscar for the duo in 2008, when Irglova’s heartfelt speech was cut short and became the topic of awards talk.
11. Damien Rice – Cannonball
Rice virtually rewrote the book on brooding Irish romance with her 2002 debut album O, which went quadruple platinum in Britain alone. Despite its success since then, it is possibly the media-shy musician’s best-known song and the most straightforward love song in his catalog. It deserves applause for the tender line “There’s still a bit of your ghost, your weakness, there’s still a bit of your face that I haven’t kissed” alone.
12. Christy Moore – The Journey
Written by the folk musician from Limerick, Johnny Duhan, it has become one of the songs for which the inimitable Moore is best known. You can’t help singing this calm and intimate metaphorical story of two partners setting off together over rough waters. “Life is an ocean, love is a boat, in troubled waters it keeps us afloat”. Sob!
13. Rory Gallagher – I’m falling apart
It’s not your typical love song, but there was nothing typical about this honest and humble Corkman musician, widely regarded as one of the best guitarists the world has ever seen. What makes this song special is the frosty, so laid back, if not more, like Gallagher himself start slowly transforming into an intense and sexy guitar solo. As one would say in Cork, ‘pure class like’.
14. Van Morrison – In the Mystic
Now here is a man in touch with his emotions. Van knows how to write a love song better than anyone, and this is his most beautiful romantic moment. A track of genius Moon Dance album, it’s a song about a sailor returning to his lover. “I want to rock your gypsy soul” is Van the Man at his best in lyrics and vocals, although he almost made the mistake of calling the song In the fog. Barely.
For those who love his music, but not rowdy in the crowd – this is the classic Van Morrison.
15. Van Morrison – I told you recently
it would be hard to have the incomplete list without this classic Van The Man!
16. Finbar Furey – The Last Great Love Song
RTE organized a musical series called The Hit, where each week songwriters presented their compositions to the best artists – singers of all genres in Ireland. Each week the artists sang their new singles – whatever track he / she chose – and the audience at home voted for the best song – with its release to the Irish charts that week.
Well, Finbar Furey designed this beauty, bringing in the Uileann pipes to complement her voice.
Written by Gerry Fleming – the song and performance not only won the selection of the week and the entire series and show, but also became a number 1 hit on the charts in Ireland, Finbar’s debut Furey in 26 years.
Finbar Furey said:
“Gerry Fleming wrote this song 29 years ago and he’s been trying to get it out ever since.
“But it shows that if you get the right song to the right people at the right time, anything can happen. I didn’t use any magic on it, it’s just a great song. “
Did we miss your favorite Irish love song? Leave a comment below or tweet us your suggestions to @theirishpost
Originally published by Katy Harrington in 2015 (February).