Songs that shaped Dublin
What has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin is where we start off. The song has been sang by many since it was first written around 1876. Versions of the song have previously been sang by Johnny Logan, Paul Harrington, Sinead O’Connor and U2 however it’s the Dubliner’s version which is most popular.
One of Dublin’s most famous ballads because of its fast beat. The song was wrote in the 19th century about a man who travels from Tuam in Galway to Liverpool but is robbed while in Dublin. Many famous musicians have done covers of the song such as The Dubliners, The Pogues and The Rolling Stones.
The song was first published in a Brendan Beehan play ‘The Quare Fellow’ (1954) and wrote by Dicky Shannon. The song though was made famous in the 60s by The Dubliners. The songs fame was reignited when Ed Sheeran done a cover of it with Glen Hansard to a sold out Croke Park crowd.
A very well-known song about Dublin but it was actually first written as a poem by Patrick Kavanagh. It was released by The Dubliners in 1986 and made it to number 30 in the Irish charts. Covers of the song have been done by Van Morrison, Ed Sheeran and Sinéad O’Connor, but in our opinion Luke Kelly and The Dubliners can’t be topped!
A song written by well-known Thin Lizzy front man Phill Lynott that surprisingly isn’t all that famous. Written in 1982 the song describes a man wandering around different places of the city after a break up. A cover of the song was also released by The Corrs in 1999.
One of the most famous and beautiful songs of the city without doubt. The song was written by rock band Bagatelle, who are actually from Bray in Co. Wicklow! The song which was released in 1980 is the perfect and ultimate summer ballad of Dublin.
Of course how could we do a list of the top Songs about Dublin without U2. Bad was released in 1984. The song was written about Dublin’s North Inner City heroin problems in the 1980s. It is said that there performance of the song at Live Aid in 1985 was the bands breakthrough performance.
The Big Strong Man is a song written about an Irish Traveller who is unbelievably strong and could achieve extraordinary feats. The song was most famously sang by Irish ballad group from Dublin the Wolfe Tones. It is unknown who wrote the song or what year it was written.
The Foggy Dew was written by Charles Canon O’Neill in 1919 and reflects on Easter Week in Dublin in 1916. The song summed up the feelings of Irish Nationalists after the Rising and is certainly political in its views. Versions have been recorded by Sinéad O’Connor, The Dubliners and The Wolfe tones and it’s also the walk out music for Dublin born Mixed Martial Arts Fighter, Conor McGregor.
Dublin In The Rare Auld Times is a song written by Pete St John in the 1970s. The song follows the story of fictional Dubliner Sean Dempsey who struggles to come to terms with the modernisation of his city. The song was a number 1 hit for Irish folk singer Danny Doyle in 1978 with versions also being done by The Dubliners and The High Kings
The song was composed by Liam Maguire and made famous by Noel Purcell. When first released the song was not a huge hit but in later years the song became extremely popular amongst Dubliners. A version of the song was also recorded by Paddy Reilly.
Another song written on our list by Pete St John made famous by the Dublin City Ramblers and The Dubliners. The song describes a former Liffey Pilot whose lost his job and is talking to his wife Molly about the implications of being unemployed.
Lannigans Ball is about a farmer from Co. Kildare who goes to Dublin for three weeks to practice his dancing at Brooks Academy. The most famous cover of the song was done by Christy Moore. It’s said that the song was written sometime in the 1860s.
Written by Pete St John the songs most famous cover was sang by Brendan Grace. The song tells the story of a man who describes the beauty of a girl he’s fallen in love with from the Ringsend (a Southside inner suburb) area of Dublin.
Dicey Reilly is an Irish folk song that was made most famous by The Dubliners. The song released in 1985 referrers to a woman from Dublin who has turned to alcoholism and pawns off valuables for money to buy more drink.
For a guide on some of the most well-known Dublin and Irish bands, check out our Top Bands page.
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