St. Patrick is most famous in the United States for driving all the snakes out of Ireland, even though he didn’t actually drive all the snakes out of Ireland. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that St. Patrick’s day is famous for being the day where everyone in the United States is Irish, even though they aren’t.
Many of these songs aren’t Irish either, at least in the sense that the people that wrote and performed them don’t hold an Irish passport. Should that really matter? It doesn’t to me. They make me feel Irish. If that’s a problem, you can…
Kiss My Irish Ass – The Keltic Cowboys
The Keltic Cowboys are a band I discovered one day when I was browsing the internet for new music. Their website bills them as “Arizona’s premier Irish rock band,” which I’m inclined to believe because I don’t live in Arizona, so I’m not up to date on contemporary Irish rock bands from that area.
This song is particularly fitting for the list thanks to the pointed mention of Ellis Island firmly establishing the band as Irish-American. My Irish friends, and by Irish I mean people from Ireland, like to bust my balls about whether I’m actually Irish, and I let them because it doesn’t fucking matter. I’ve never claimed to be Irish. I’m very much Irish-American, though, and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it.
Top O’ The Mornin’ To Ya – House Of Pain
Question: What do a Latvian DJ and a Grammy-winning Muslim vocalist have to do with a list of music meant to make you feel Irish?
Answer: They’re both founding members of House of Pain – DJ Lethal (of Limp Bizkit fame) and Everlast (aka Whitey Ford)
If you think that there’s a large number of Americans think they’re Irish now, you should go buy a time machine and visit 1993. After House of Pain’s eponymous album dropped, you couldn’t find a patch of pale skin anywhere that didn’t have a Notre Dame mascot drawn on it, and Boston hats were everywhere.
If I Should Fall From Grace With God – The Pogues
Guess where the lead singer of Celtic-punk band The Pogues is from.
His parents are Irish, though, so I guess that makes him cooler than me. How many generations do you have to go through before you lose the right to refer to your ancestry?
This song is amazing, which is par for the course when it comes to The Pogues.
Factory Girls – Flogging Molly
Guess where the lead singer of Flogging Molly is from.
It’s easy to see how these guys became famous. Their harder stuff is great, but it’s songs like this that are able to reach a mass audience, and for good reason.
The Dirty Glass – The Dropkick Murphys
I had the most difficulty trying to decide which Dropkick song to include on the list. I thought about Fields of Athenry, especially the soldier’s tribute version, but nixed it for reasons unknown. Another alternative was Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced, which would be apropos considering it’s newsworthiness last St. Paddy’s Day.
I ended up settling on The Dirty Glass because it’s probably my favorite song by the band. That’s what happens when you let the girl working the merch table get up and show her stuff.
Molly Malone – The Dubliners
Up until this point I’ve avoided Irish standards, because I started this post by making the point that as an Irish-American, a lot of my context is quite far removed from the source. I’m ending with this song, because as much as that is true, it’s also true that the source still exists.
St. Patrick’s Day is a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but in the end it’s mostly positive and inclusive – and that’s a good thing. So here’s a song about an Irish girl in an Irish city, performed by an Irish band named after said city.