The Irish have a beautiful way with words. Here are the ten greatest Irish love songs to make you swoon.
Irish music is loved all over the world. It is completely unique, and you can always spot it a mile away.
There are so many fantastic Irish love songs out there that have spanned decades, so it’ll be tough to narrow them down to just ten.
From traditional Irish tunes to contemporary songs of love, let’s take a look at some of the best Irish love songs that will make your heart sway.
10. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor – originally written and recorded by Prince
‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ is one of the most beautiful Irish loves songs out there, but it was originally written and recorded by Prince.
While it is known for being a sad but powerful ballad about lost romantic love, many believe the basis of the song comes from Prince’s housekeeper, Sandy Scipioni, who left to be with her family after her father died. You find many Irish weddings feature this iconic song and interpreted in so many ways.
9. Don’t Believe a Word, Thin Lizzy – telling his girl not to trust him
Written by the legendary Phil Lynott, ‘Don’t Believe a Word’ tells the story of a men who urges his loved one not to believe a word he says.
While it might not be a conventional love song, we believe it is one of the greatest Irish love songs of all time.
8. All I Want, Kodaline – a beautiful Irish love song
Originally written by Kodaline’s vocalist Steve Garrigan in the attic of his parent’s house after a breakup, this song has since been interpreted in many different ways by listeners all over the world.
A song of love and heartbreak, it is one of the more modern Irish love songs that has been received so well by the public.
7. I Fall Apart, Rory Gallagher – one of the greatest guitarists of all time
While Rory Gallagher usually has more upbeat music you can stomp your foot to, ‘I Fall Apart’ is a beautiful slow song about love. This cork man is often regarded as one of the finest guitarists of all time.
His singing voice is often outshone by his incredible guitar skills, but this beautiful ballad really outlines the skills he has.
6. Falling Slowly, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – one of the greatest Irish love songs
Featured on the soundtrack to the 2007 movie Once starring Hansard and Irglove, this is a beautiful Irish love song. Unsurprisingly, it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 80th Academy Awards.
5. Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol – a funny origin
Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ is a very popular song and has been depicted in many shows and movies. It can often be portrayed as a very sad song. If you’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy, you know what we’re talking about.
Gary Lightbody told Rolling Stone that the song came from his infatuation with a girl when he was young. His father said to him, “You’re like a dog chasing a car”.
4. Raglan Road, Luke Kelly – a popular Irish wedding song
The song ‘Raglan Road’ comes from the popular poem of the same name written by one of the most famous Irish poets, Patrick Kavanagh.
In the poem and the song, a story is told of a man who falls for a much younger woman. The real woman who inspired the tale was Hilda Moriarty. As well as Luke Kelly, the song was recorded by Sinead O’Connor and Van Morrison.
3. A Rainy Night in Soho, The Pogues – a beautiful, lilting melody of love
Written by legendary Shane McGowan, ‘A Rainy Night in Soho’ is a beautiful Irish love song that incorporates both traditional Irish music elements as well as contemporary jazz and blues. If you haven’t picked your first dance song, this is a great Irish wedding song.
2. Only Time, Enya – one of the most beautiful songs yet so heartbreaking
While ‘Only Time’ isn’t a conventional love song, we think it deserves a spot on the greatest Irish love songs of all time.
The song talks about how although we might pick our partners, ‘only time’ will tell if it’s meant to be or not.
1. Dreams, The Cranberries – the best Irish love song
According to the lead singer Dolores O’Riordan herself, ‘Dreams’ was written about her first love. She sings about meeting someone who can make you deliriously happy, like most first loves do. There are so many metaphors throughout that allude to first love.
The Cranberries are one of the greatest Irish rock bands of all time and are deserving of the number-one spot.
Other notable mentions
When You Say Nothing At All, Ronan Keating: While Ronan Keating’s ‘When You Say Nothing at All’ might be a bit of a cringey love song, it’s an Irish classic that everybody loves.
With or Without You, U2: ‘With or Without You’ was released on U2’s fifth studio album. It is about an impossible situation that the singer can’t escape. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Out of Love, Bell X1: This is a great song about the loss of love from Kildare rock band Bell X1.
Molly Malone, The Dubliners: ‘Molly Malone’ is the epitome of Irish folk music and is one of Ireland’s most famous love songs. The singer talks about everything that sets Molly Malone aside from all the other girls in town.
Grace, The Dubliners: This is one of the most beautiful Irish songs of all time and has been performed by many legends including The Dubliners and Rod Stewart.
Black is the Colour of My True Loves Hair, Christy Moore: Originally written and sung by the legendary Nina Simone, Christy Moore’s rendition is a heartfelt Irish ballad that is filled with emotion. It is certainly one of the finest love songs.
Love you Till The End, The Pogues: You might know this one from P.S. I Love You. It’s often on Celtic wedding music playlists, too.
FAQs about the greatest Irish love songs
What is the best Irish-language song about love?
One of the most beautiful Irish-language love songs is ‘Eibhlín A Rún’, which translates to Eileen Aroon. While many Irish love songs are quite sad and solemn, this one has a beautifully happy ending.
Are there any happy Irish love songs?
While many Irish love songs have sombre undertones and slow, lilting melodies that make them seem as such, many actually are very positive and happy tunes. ‘Falling Slowly’, for example.
What are the best Irish wedding songs?
There are certain songs you will always hear at Irish weddings. You can check out our list of the ten best Irish wedding songs here.