Tired of “Danny Boy?” Need something else for your St. Patrick’s Day playlist? We have some recommendations—21 of them, to be precise. And each song can be streamed for free (and, in some cases, downloaded too) with Freegal, Hoopla, and your library card!
Every good St. Patrick’s Day playlist needs its share of protest songs, and let’s start with one of the best. This song is a moving rumination on the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre when 26 unarmed people were shot (14 of whom died) by British soldiers in Northern Ireland.
If you’re looking for a more upbeat U2 song, there’s always “Beautiful Day.”
“Linger” might be a better tune, but it’s “Zombie” you need on March 17. It’s about an IRA bombing that killed two children in Cheshire in 1993.
How about some lighter fare? (And, yes, this pretty ditty about a girl who dies from a fever counts as lighter fare… at least, for the Irish.)
Sure, the title is French but the spirit is Irish.
Frankly, both “Dirty Old Town” and “The Irish Rover” with the aforementioned Dubliners should be mandatory listening on St. Patrick’s Day.
Speaking of Irish rovers… These Belfast boys are perfect for adding a splash of folk to your fun.
Start the day with “Shipping Up to Boston.” End it with “Going Out in Style.”
And, while you’re at it, listen to the Pete Rock remix of “Jump Around.”
“I Useta Lover” still holds the record for top-selling single in Irish history. (Use that bit of knowledge to earn a free pint.)
The perfect song for those who roll their eyes at Paddy’s revelry. By the end of the evening, no one will notice that the song’s sarcastic.
The only knock on this instrumental beauty is that you can’t sing along. (But it’s OK. You can still hum.)
It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyhow) that this one’s probably not for kids.
The Troubles is a gentle euphemism for the violence in Northern Ireland in the late 20th century between Unionists who wanted to remain in the United Kingdom and Irish Nationalists who wanted Northern Ireland united with the Republic of Ireland. Amidst the chaos, Stiff Little Fingers made a song about demanding change and freedom.
A lovely song for all the Irish ex-pats from London to Collinwood.
An appropriate song for your friend who’s had one (or three) too many.
These gentlemen are Irish (and Scottish) by way of Canada, but they’ve written a beautiful song to dream to. And that’s vital for St. Patrick’s Day; because every dreamer might not be Irish, but all the Irish have a bit of the dreamer in them.
19. “Whiskey in the Jar”
This classic has everything necessary for a good drinking song—theft, murder, an enticing woman, and a part where you can scream “Oh!” Pick your favorite version: The Dubliners; The Pogues; Roger Whittaker; Peter Paul & Mary; or Metallica.
20. “Danny Boy”
We could only find this one on YouTube, but it’s still worth a listen. This song celebrates Obama’s (apparently real) Irish heritage. It’s a novelty in the best sense, especially on a day when so many of us claim a little bit of Ireland.
By the way, if you don’t know how to use Freegal or Hoopla, we’ve made how-to handouts and videos to help. Or, if you’d prefer, you can always ask us. Call or stop by the reference desk the next time you visit.
More St. Patrick’s Day: