Ireland has produced some of the best rock artists of all time. Here at IrishCentral, we have compiled our favorite top ten rock anthems.
The variety, talent and legacy of each of these performers live on and continue to influence fans and artists across the globe. So sit back, relax and enjoy, in no particular order, the talent of our indigenous rock stars.
“With or Without You” - U2
“With or Without You” by U2 is one of their most iconic tunes. It comes from their 1987 album "Joshua Tree". In 2004, "Rolling Stone" magazine placed the single at number 131 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The magazine's 2021 ranking placed the song at 221st.
“Whiskey in the Jar” - Thin Lizzy
One of Ireland's biggest rock bands in the 1970s. The Dublin band after their chart debut with this song the band appeared on the British TV show "Top of the Pops" in February 1973.
“Linger” - The Cranberries
The Limerick band rose to prominence in the U.S. in the early nineties partially thanks to the popularity of "Linger". In a documentary lead vocalist Dolores O'Riordan said the song was about her first kiss.
“I don't like Mondays” - Boomtown Rats
A number-one hit in 32 countries, front-man Bob Geldof was inspired to write the song when a Californian schoolgirl told police that she shot her principal because she didn’t like Mondays.
"This Is" - Aslan
Better known for their 1994 hit "Crazy World", Aslan burst onto the scene with "This Is" in the 1980s. Featuring incredible vocals by the late Christy Dignam and lending itself to memorable live performances, "This Is" is one of the greatest Irish songs of all time.
“Chasing Cars” - Snow Patrol
The second song from their fourth album, the song is one of the band's most well-known and became the first Irish song to surpass one billion streams on Spotify. Listeners of Virgin Radio voted the song as “Best Song of All Time”.
“Revelate” - The Frames
The band was founded in 1990 by Glen Hansard. Led by the Swell Season star, the band had great success with this 1995 single.
“Days Like This” - Van Morrison
“Days Like This” by Van Morrison was on the 23rd album of the Northern Irish singer/songwriter. It went on to become the official anthem of the peace process in Northern Ireland. It was also featured on the soundtrack of the film “As Good as It Gets”. Dermot Kennedy's cover of the song went viral during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Dearg Doom” - Horslips
The Horslips are considered as one of the leading Irish Celtic rock bands of the 1970s. Released in 1973, this song continues to be one of the most iconic tracks of that rock era having one of the greatest riffs of rock and roll. The guitar riff famously featured in "Put Em Under Pressure", Ireland's anthem for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
“A Million Miles Away” - Rory Gallagher
Saving the best until last, this Donegal-born, Cork-raised man was a founding father of Irish blues rock music. This track was featured on the album “Tattoo”.
* Originally published in 2011. Updated in August 2023.