How it’s New York: St. Patrick’s Day is arguably bigger in New Yrok (and New Jersey!) than in Ireland, St._Patrick's_Day_postcard_1908where it’s still very much a religious holiday.
How it’s Irish: Tis the season!

D.J. Tommy Burns compiled this list for us.  He’s a musician himself with  Irish music with A Band of Rogues and Burns and Cashman and one of the hosts of “Glor na h’Eireann”, an Irish Radio show, an Irish Radio show broadcasting from Rutgers University 88.7 FM on Sundays at 6pm. Get in the spirit!

A green bagel– OK it’s silly, but it’s JIRISH! It’s hard to resist the lure of this holiday which has turned into BE IRISH ALL MONTH, a full season of events… Sing and dance along with the songs Tommy picked. What are yours? Tell us!

256px-Green_BeerPut down the green beer, take off the plastic green hat and the green beaded necklace.  Put on your Arran sweater, patiently wait for your Guinness to settle and let’s listen to some of the Irish songs and tunes you should have on your St Patrick’s Day playlist:

 1. Patrick Was a Gentle man (Christy Moore)

Lets start by learning a little about St. Patrick.  Although some of the accounts in this ballad by Christy Moore seem apocryphal, St. Patrick was no doubt a ‘gentleman’ in his day.  After escaping slavery and his ordination in France, his mission was to bring Chistianity to Ireland.  Extermination services were a bonus.



2. St. Patrick’s Day (Traditional)

To many, this is “The Quiet Man” theme song.  To Irish dancers all the world over, this is an essential dance and danced the same worldwide.

3. “Raggle Taggle Gypsy” (Planxty)

Planxty started it all.  Their members went on to form the Bothy Band and the trees of Irish trad blossomed in all directions.

4. A Jig and Five Reels (The Bothy Band)

“Six chunes, all in a bunch, we play them all at once” – The Bothy Band was a trad supergroup of their day and sparked a revival of Irish Traditional music in the 70’s.  This live track captures their virtuousity, intensity and energy and you can hear the enthusiasm of the crowd !

6. Star of the County Down (The Chieftains/Van Morrison)

Traditional music legends The Chieftains collaborated with Ireland’s rock icon Van Morrison.  The results were as excellent as you might expect.

7. If I Should Fall from Grace of God   (The Pogues)

This song gallops along with banjos, accordions and Shane McGowan’s  vocals


8. Whiskey in the Jar  (The Dubliners)

St. Patricks day is most fully enjoyed with a drop of the Uisce Beatha the “water of Life” – Whiskey!

9. When NY was Irish (Shilelagh Law)

New York’s own Shilelagh Law sings about the tight-knit Irish community here in NYC.

10. Celtic Symphony (The Wolfe Tones)

Everyone loves to sing along with “Up the Celts” !  It’s the Irish answer to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody!

And one for good luck:

11. Spancil Hill (Paddy Reilly)

We all dream of going back to Ireland…..for many, it remains a dream.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.