So what are the ten greatest Irish ballads?
We could sit here and argue for months, and I would happily do but here is my selection.
All these songs have touched my heart at one time or another. I hope they touch yours too.
1.“Song for Ireland” by Scottish folk singer Phil Colclough -- beautifully rendered by Mary Black, written in 1982 it has become a classic.
2.“Scorn not his simplicty” Phil Coulter’s beautiful paean to his Down Syndrome son. Wonderfully rendered by Luke Kelly of the Dubliners.
3. “The Time Has Come” heartbreaking 1981 hunger strike song commemorating death of Patsy O’Hara. Christy Moore co-wrote with Donal Lunny and does a magnificent version.
4. “Arthur MacBride” An anti-British army recruiting song from the 1840s, beautifully rendered by Paul Brady.
5. ‘I dreamt I dwelt ‘ by Irish composer Michael Balfe from his opera “Bohemian girl. “ A heartrending, and lonely song. Enya does a stellar version of it.
6. “The Fields of Athenry” by Pete St.John has become the unofficial Irish national anthem thanks to Celtic Football club and the Irish soccer team. A wonderful haunting ballad of the Irish famine .Paddy Reilly does a magnificent version
7.”The Bold Fenian Men’” ballad of the 19th century commemorating the Fenian uprising. Sinead O’Connor does the definitive version.
8. “Grace” about Grace Gifford who married her husband hours before he was executed for his part in the 1916 Rising Written by Frank O’Meara in 1985. The Dubliners do a powerful version.
9.”Only Her Rivers Run Free “ Written by Mickie McConnell, brother of our blogger, Cormac McConnell in 1965. Christy Moore does a magnificent version.
10.”Raglan Road,” poignant song about love and loss written by Patrick Kavanagh. Luke Kelly hits it out of the park.