Belfast DJ David Holmes has been chosen by a team of music writers from the Irish Times as top of the 50 “best acts” in Irish music today.

Holmes, a former hairdresser, beat such established acts as Snow Patrol (22) and The Frames (11), as well as current favorites Fight Like Apes (4), Lisa Hannigan (5), and Imelda May (21).

“The rise and rise of David Holmes is quite marvelous to behold,” the judges said. “At every juncture, from the days when his Sugar Sweet club was one of the very best techno nights out in Europe to last year's remarkable ‘The Holy Pictures’ album, Holmes has demonstrated a sure-fire ability to shake things up and move the story on.”

Holmes is best known as the composer of movie soundtracks, and has scored "Ocean's Thirteen", "Analyze That" and "Hunger", among many others.

To qualify for the list, the judges said, a group or solo artist had to have gigged, recorded or released music in 2008 or 2009 and have some claim to Irishness. Solo acts must be born on the island of Ireland, and half or more band members must either have been born on the island of Ireland of hold Irish passports

Jape, aka Richie Egan, came in at second place, and was described by the judges as “a master songwriter with an extremely exciting creative vision, and is an absolutely vital component of the Irish music scene.”

Pop songstress Cathy Davey was placed third.  “There’s no better female songwriter in Irish music right now,” the paper said.

But in a decision that will probably upset many diehard U2 fans, the legendary Irish band were only placed 18th.  “Their recently-released album, No Line on the Horizon’ , is less of a masterpiece than many critics are claiming,” argued music critic Tony Clayton-Lea.

“Indeed, it contains some of the most mediocre music U2 have created, something that seems to have been doggedly overlooked in the rush to lionize them (which is also occasionally justified). The next album had better be very much in the zone, otherwise we’re outta here.”

Click here for a complete list of the 50 best Irish acts in music today.