You don’t have to be Irish to appreciate St. Patrick’s Day. Great food, festivals, music and parades sound like a pretty good reason to celebrate to me. Skip the green beer and get right to the best Irish ales and cocktails. If that’s not enough, I put together a St. Paddy’s Day playlist that you can pair these drinks with.
Dropkick Murphys – I’m Shipping Up To Boston: Sure, there may be more relevant songs in the Dropkick Murphys catalog to represent a St. Paddy’s Day playlist, but this one’s a favorite of mine. You’re probably familiar with the song––it was featured in the film “The Departed”, but did you know the lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie? This unconventional pairing created the perfect song.
Recommended Drink: Kick things off with a boilermaker.
The Dubliners – Whiskey In The Jar: If The Dubliners don’t end up somewhere in your St. Paddy’s Day playlist, you’re just doing it wrong. “Whiskey In The Jar” is as traditional an Irish song as there ever was, featuring lyrics about love, anger, betrayal and sadness. The song has been around since the 17th century, and after The Dubliners made it famous, bands like The Pogues, Thin Lizzy and Metallica gave it their own personal touch.
Recommended Drink: Try an Irish Buck.
Imelda May – Mayhem: When Dublin-born Imelda May dropped this rockabilly barnstormer back in 2010, she caught the ear of Jools Holland, which resulted in a performance on his show, “Later… with Jools Holland”. That performance, and the sheer greatness of that album, also called “Mayhem”, helped Imelda May connect with an even larger audience.
Recommended Drink: Get adventurous with a pickleback.
House of Pain – Shamrocks And Shenanigans: I thought we could shake up the playlist with some House of Pain. While not their most popular song, this is a pretty solid one. Let’s face it, there aren’t many Irish-inspired hip-hop groups out there. Besides, this song sounds like something you’d hear at a party, right?
Recommended Drink: Enjoy a light, delicious, Harp Lager.
Against Me – Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong: It’s another song about love, loss and heartbreak, by the phenomenal Against Me. The song is a story about trials and tribulations of singer Laura Jane Grace’s grandparents, and the title is based on a vintage Guinness advertising slogan. You can hear the emotion in this song––it’s my favorite on the playlist.
Recommended Drink: (You knew this was coming, right?) A pint of Guinness.
U2 – I Will Follow: Look, there are so many U2 songs to choose from, so I opted for something (mostly) upbeat from their early years. “I Will Follow” is a song about the love between a mother and child, inspired by Bono’s own mother, who died in 1974, when he was just 14 years old. This song was the world’s introduction to U2––little did anyone know what was to come.
Recommended Drink: The Irish Car Bomb.
The Cranberries – Salvation: As a teenager in the ‘90s who lived and breathed alt rock, The Cranberries were pretty high up there on my list of amazing bands. As much as I liked “Linger” and “Zombie”, but “Salvation” had the kick in the pants I still appreciate in music to this day. The song itself is a look at drug addiction, something the band saw firsthand back in Limerick.
Recommended Drink: It’s time for a Cranberry Jameson.
Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies: This high energy song is rumored to be about the ills of society, and the fighting in Northern Ireland. To me, it’s the quintessential Irish drinking song. You can’t go wrong with Flogging Molly, but this song in particular takes the cake.
Recommended Drink: Class it up (but not too much) with a Black Velvet.
Van Morrison – And It Stoned Me: Until recently, I had no idea Van Morrison was Irish. Sure enough, he is! In a 1985 book about the musician, he explained the story behind the song:
“I suppose I was about twelve years old. We used to go to a place called Ballystockart to fish. We stopped in the village on the way up to this place and I went to this little stone house, and there was an old man there with dark weather-beaten skin, and we asked him if he had any water. He gave us some water which he said he’d got from the stream. We drank some and everything seemed to stop for me. Time stood still. For five minutes everything was really quiet and I was in this ‘other dimension’. That’s what the song is about.”
Other dimensions aside, the song brings a bit of funk that needs to be part of any St. Patrick’s Day playlist.
Recommended Drink: Kick back with an Irish Old Fashioned.
The Dubliners & The Pogues – The Irish Rover: This is, without a doubt, an Irish singalong song. I can imagine a bar full of folks singing this before the place closes for the night. Need more convincing? Watch the video of this performance below.
When I watch this, I see a bunch of people putting a lot of heart into great music while celebrating friendship and the ups and downs of life. If there’s a theme across all of these songs, aside from the obvious, that’d be it.
Recommended Drink: Toast St. Paddy’s Day with a shot of Jameson 18.
Article written by Bruce Sturgell
Bruce is the founder of Chubstr.com, a style blog that helps guys to find, create, and share their own personal style with the world by offering them articles, resources, and reader photo submissions.
Bruce has been featured in the New York Times, Refinery 29, The Huffington Post, The Cut, The Sydney Morning Herald, MSN, and Le Monde for the unique and interesting content he’s created through Chubstr.