"Zombie" took the top spot over other Irish classics "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues and "The Boys Are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy when the RTÉ 2FM's Ultimate Irish Playlist was broadcast in October 2022.

Written by Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan, "Zombie" is about the 1993 IRA bombings in Warrington, England which killed two children.

The protest song condemned the use of violence during the Troubles and deals with a mother's heartbreak after her innocent child was killed in the bombing. 

O'Riordan, who passed away in 2018, wrote the powerful lyrics and previously said in an interview that she wanted to distance herself from the small minority of Irish people who used violent means to achieve a United Ireland, giving rise to the famous "it's not me, it's not my family" lyric.

O'Riordan detested that the bombers claimed they carried out the act of terrorism in the name of Ireland. Despite being written specifically about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the song resonated with anti-war protestors the world over.

On the night that Ireland's favorite song was revealed, Girls Aloud star and Derry native Nadine Coyle delivered a rousing and powerful rendition of the much-loved 1994 Cranberries hit.

The Ultimate Irish Playlist also featured performances from Hothouse Flowers, B*Witched, Bagatelle, Nathan Carter, The Stunning, Sharon Shannon, and Mundy, plus lots more well-known and loved musicians and artists.

B*Witched commented that they were delighted to discover that their catchy anthem, C'est la Vie, made it onto The Ultimate Irish Playlist.

In a huge feat for an Irish band, twin sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch, Lindsay Armaou and Sinéad O'Carroll, recalled how the song helped them to crack America.

"If somebody had said to me 24 years ago that C'est la Vie would still be played in clubs and on the radio, I don't think I would have believed them," Armaou said.

The Ultimate Irish Playlist, as voted for by RTÉ 2fm listeners:

  1. The Cranberries - Zombie
  2. The Pogues – Fairytale of New York
  3. Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back in Town
  4. The Saw Doctors - N17
  5. Aslan - Crazy World
  6. U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name
  7. Sinéad O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U
  8. The Undertones - Teenage Kicks
  9. Bagatelle - Summer in Dublin
  10. Mark McCabe - Maniac 2000
  11. The Stunning - Brewing Up a Storm
  12. Sharon Shannon, Mundy - Galway Girl
  13. Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
  14. Westlife - World of Our Own
  15. Hozier - Take Me to Church
  16. Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
  17. Christy Moore - Ride On
  18. Put 'Em Under Pressure
  19. B*Witched - C'est la Vie
  20. Hothouse Flowers - Don't Go

* Originally published in 2022, updated in Aug 2023.