The 2013 All-Ireland Senior Football Final will pit Dublin’s Boys in Blue against the Green and Red of Mayo. The atmosphere in Croke Park is always electric on game day, but this year’s city vs. country rivalry – and the high expectations for both teams -- promises to push the excitement level off the charts.
In honor of the great event, here’s a playlist of Irish music videos tailored to the occasion. It’s evenly divided between Mayo songs, Dublin ditties and general Irish songs, so it’s perfect for your after-game celebration (or post-game lamentation). We’ve tried to keep the artist list diverse, but it’s clear that when it comes to writing songs about the West of Ireland, the Saw Doctors have cornered the market.
Have we left any of your favorites out? Let us know in the comments. Now, let the game – and the discussion – begin . . .
For those rooting for the Green and Red . . .
The West’s Awake / Damien Dempsey
Sure it's a Galway song but the west will unite behind Mayo this weekend. I searched in vain for a rock and roll version of this Irish classic, but couldn’t find one. (Seriously, Black 47 / Flogging Molly / Dropkick Murphys?) Here’s a contemporary – and quite beautiful – rendition of this Irish classic by Irish singer Damien Dempsey.
Joyce Country Ceili Band / The Saw Doctors
I was tempted to go with Paddy Reilly’s “Little Grey Home in the West” or “Moonlight in Mayo,” but they didn’t seem to fit the general mood of the day. Here are Galway’s favorite sons The Saw Doctors rocking it out, ceili-style. And yes, Joyce Country extends through Galway and Mayo – thank goodness.
The Green and Red of Mayo / The Saw Doctors
Can you talk about a Mayo song without mentioning the greatest one of all? I didn’t think so. And yes, you are allowed to play air guitar throughout the last third of the song. Lead singer Davy Carton has never sounded better.
For those rooting for the Dublin Jacks . . .
Rocky Road to Dublin / The High Kings
I was seriously tempted to go with the Tommy Makem / Liam Clancy version of this song, which is fabulous. But the High Kings acquit themselves admirably (as always) on this foot-stomping favorite, so I couldn’t resist. And if you like what you hear, check out their new album, “Friends for Life,” which drops this week.
Summer in Dublin
Take me away from the city, and lead me to where I can be on my own: That’s usually good advice from Bagatelle’s Liam Reilly, except on Game Day. (If I were in Dublin this weekend, you wouldn’t be able to pull me past the city limits with a tractor.) The Liffey doesn’t stink quite as much these days, but the lyrics ratchet up the nostalgia factor for ex-pats, no matter which county they hail from.
Dublin the Rare Old Times / The Dubliners
So, I had the choice of “Molly Malone,” “Dicey Reilly” and “Raglan Road” but I went for the ultimate Dublin ballad. And it’s sung here by the incomparable Ronnie Drew. If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, check your pulse. (And go to your room without supper.)
For those who don’t care who wins, but like music…
To Win Just Once / Saw Doctors
I really fretted about using three SD songs on a list of only ten, but this is just too perfect. “Time is passing, so come on / And face the ball, the game is on…”
The Boys Are Back in Town / Thin Lizzy
This list needed some rock and roll – and who better to provide the vibe than Phil Lynott & Co.?
Funky Ceili / Black 47
Black 47 might be going their separate ways in 2014, but their musical legacy is secure. I remember when they burst onto the scene with their mix of irresistible musical hooks and pointed social commentary. I have a special love for this number because it name checks my old neighborhood, Bainbridge Avenue.
Will Ye Go, Lassie Go / Van Morrison and Paddy Reilly
There are probably as many versions of this beautiful song as there are seats in Croke Park, but this pairing of Van Morrison and Paddy Reilly was too perfect to resist.