Music is a huge part of Irish culture, and it is something that has people from around the world intrigued.
Many artists from Ireland have made successes on the Irish music scene as well as globally for themselves throughout the years. This includes many Irish rock bands that we still love and listen to today.
From classic rock bands to modern alternative rock ensembles, let’s take a trip down Irish rock memory lane and check out the top ten best Irish rock bands of all time.
- Music is a huge part of Irish culture, and it is something that has people from around the world intrigued.
- Meanwhile in Ireland’s top facts about the best Irish rock bands of all time
- 10. Hothouse Flowers – a huge success of their time
- 9. Snow Patrol – a band that keeps going strong
- 8. Aslan – a much loved, classic Irish rock band
- 7. The Script – creating hit after hit
- 6. The Frames – influential in the Dublin music scene
- 5. The Corrs – a family of talented musicians
- 4. The Boomtown Rats – the band behind some epic, classic hits
- 3. Thin Lizzy – bringing Dublin rock to the global stage
- 2. The Cranberries – a band that influenced the world
- 1. U2 – one of the most loved bands ever
- Other notable mentions
- Your questions answered about Irish rock bands and musicians
Meanwhile in Ireland’s top facts about the best Irish rock bands of all time
- The Cranberries made their breakthrough with their 1993 Album ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’. “Linger” featured on this album, one of their most recognisable songs.
- Frontman and bassist for Thin Lizzy, Phill Lynott, is regarded as an influential figure in music history, and is his style is still emulated and celebrated today.
- Snow Patrol actually formed in Scotland, but most members are from Ireland. “Chasing Cars” is also one of the most played songs on British radio in the 21st century.
- Aslan discontinued back in 1988 but reformed in the early 90s. Many members have contributed to charitable organisations tackling homelessness and addiction.
- The Corrs, as the name suggests, is a band of siblings made up of Andrea, Sharon, Caroline and Jim.
10. Hothouse Flowers – a huge success of their time
Mixing Irish rock with some gospel, soul and classic rock influences produces some great results, which we have seen with the success of Hothouse Flowers.
Like many bands in Ireland, they started out as street performers in Dublin and went on to become one of the best Irish rock bands of all time, even having the most successful debut album in Irish history.
9. Snow Patrol – a band that keeps going strong
Snow Patrol is a Scottish/Northern Irish rock band with huge hits such as ‘Chasing Cars’ and ‘Just Say Yes’. Lead singer Gary Lightbody has also had a very successful collaboration with Taylor Swift for the song ‘The Last Time’.
8. Aslan – a much loved, classic Irish rock band
The leading man of Aslan is, of course, Christy Dignam, and as a band, they have released six studio albums. They took their name from Aslan, the lion who featured in The Chronicles of Narnia.
7. The Script – creating hit after hit
An Irish rock band that is still going strong today is The Script. In their early days, they even had songs featured in TV Shows like The Hills, Made in Chelsea, and The Vampire Diaries.
6. The Frames – influential in the Dublin music scene
Glen Hansard is the man who founded The Frames in 1990. The band has made a huge name for themselves in the Dublin rock scene. Anyone who has seen the movie Once may recognise the lead actor as being Glen Hansard.
5. The Corrs – a family of talented musicians
The Corrs featured four siblings hailing from Co. Louth. They put a spin on classic rock and pop-rock by blending it with traditional Irish themes.
Everyone around the world knows this epic band, and their songs are still always on the radio.
4. The Boomtown Rats – the band behind some epic, classic hits
This epic Irish rock band came together in Dublin and was led by Sir Bob Geldof to produce worldwide hits like ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and ‘Rat Trap’.
Geldof himself has gone on to be one of the most famous charitable figures, having organised ‘Live Aid’ in 1985.
3. Thin Lizzy – bringing Dublin rock to the global stage
Would a list like this be complete without Thin Lizzy? We think not! Frontman Phil Lynott was one of the coolest hard rock artists around.
So cool, in fact, that there is a permanent statue of him in Dublin city centre. This for sure makes Thin Lizzy one of the best Irish rock bands of all time for sure.
2. The Cranberries – a band that influenced the world
The Cranberries are, of course, one of the best Irish rock bands of all time and featured ultra-cool frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan.
The band’s timeless rock songs, which are known all over the globe, are still being proudly played to this day.
1. U2 – one of the most loved bands ever
U2, which formed in 1976, went on to be one of the most popular rock bands in the world as well as being praised as being one of the most innovative, making them at the top of our list of the ten best Irish rock bands of all time.
With Bono’s vocals, Edge’s unique guitar style, and backing by Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr, the band made an impression throughout the world.
So, there you have it, the ten best Irish rock bands of all time. We loved them all, but what we can say for sure is that each of them truly has their own sound, and they have influenced many musicians around the world because of this.
It’s hard to define Irish rock when you see how different each one of these bands is, and that is what makes them so unique; both bringing their own charm and their own musical styles to the table means we have a lot of great stuff to listen to for years to come.
Other notable mentions
Fontaines D.C: Fontaines D.C. is an Irish post-punk band formed in Dublin in 2017.
The Pogues: With Shane MacGowan as their frontman, The Pogues are legendary in the world of Celtic punk and rock bands. Shane MacGowan is a legendary Irish singer known all over the world. Who doesn’t know ‘Fairytale of New York’?
Little Green Cars: Conor O’Brien told Gigwise that Little Green Cars, an indie-rock band formed in 2008, are one of the most exciting bands currently working in Ireland.
My Bloody Valentine: In the 80s and 90s, Irish punk fractured into new styles of alternative rock. This included the formation of the Dublin band My Bloody Valentine.
The Undertones: Rock band The Undertones from Derry are perhaps best known for their song ‘Teenage Kicks’. Feargal Sharkey was the frontman.
Virgin Prunes: Lesser known post-punk band Virgin Prunes emerged around the same time as U2.
Your questions answered about Irish rock bands and musicians
You may have read our article on the best Irish rocks bands of all time, but still have some outstanding questions. Not to worry, for in this section we have put together some of the most frequently asked questions to us and from online about the topic.
Who is the most famous solo Irish singer?
Many people believe Enya to be the most famous solo Irish singer.
What is Ireland’s most famous band?
The most famous Irish band around the world would be U2.
When was Thin Lizzy’s ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ released?
The very popular song by Thin Lizzy was originally released in 1996.
Who is the best selling Irish rock band?
This would easily be U2, who have sold over 170 million albums. Other popular and best selling Irish bands include Westlife with 55 million albums sold and The Cranberries with 50+ million albums sold.