On a visit to an Irish pub, you will be sure to hear people singing the very best Irish drinking songs as nothing sets the mood on a night out like a good sing-song.
Ireland is famous for its great music and great pubs.
So, naturally, Irish pubs and the best Irish drinking songs go hand in hand. No pub crawl in Ireland would be complete without singing along to these belters.
In this article, we will list what we believe to be the top ten best Irish drinking songs of all time.
10. Beer, Beer, Beer by The Clancy Brothers – a tribute to the fictional inventor of beer
With a title such as this, it’s not hard to imagine that the song is about beer.
While it’s unknown who originally wrote the song and how long it’s been around, it acts as a tribute song to the fictional inventor of beer: Charlie Mop(p).
While there is a lot of mystery surrounding the origins of the song, one thing is for sure that it is undoubtedly one of the best Irish drinking songs.
9. Finnegan’s Wake by The Dubliners – tells the tale of a whiskey lover’s funeral
‘Finnegan’s Wake’ is a good-humoured folk song, which tells the story of a whiskey lover called Tim Finnegan’s funeral.
In the song, he ends up waking up during the reception and joining in with the celebrations at his own funeral!
8. Seven Drunken Nights by The Dubliners – the effects of alcohol
This song tells the story of a man on the drink who returns home each night and can’t tell if what he is seeing is real or the effects of alcohol.
It’s a fun sing-along song to for the whole pub enjoy.
7. Dirty Old Town by The Pogues – a 1940s song made famous by The Pogues
While the original song was written back in 1949, it didn’t reach mainstream success until the Pogues released a cover of it. It was then that it became a massive hit in Ireland and Europe.
While the song ‘Dirty Old Town’ is written about the town of Salford in the UK, it went on regardless to be a popular Irish drinking song.
6. All for Me Grog by The Dubliners – a sad tale
Another classic by the Dubliners (are we noticing a theme here?), ‘All for me Grog’ tells the sad tale of a drunkard who is willing to sell everything in his possession just to get some of his beloved drink and tobacco.
Originally this song was a popular sailors’ song, but it soon became popularized in pubs with every Irish drinker and has remained a fan favourite ever since.
5. Whiskey in the Jar by The Dubliners – an Irish drinking song turned rock anthem
‘Whiskey in the Jar’ tells the story of a robbery in the south-west of Ireland that didn’t exactly go to plan.
The Dubliners first made this song famous in the 1960s, and it went on to be reinvented by Thin Lizzy and Metallica who both injected more of a rock flavour to it.
4. The Irish Rover by Ronnie Drew – many covers of this classic Irish song
‘The Irish Rover’ is an Irish drinking song, which has been covered by a wide variety of artists over the years, so there are many versions to listen to.
For our money’s worth, the cover by Ronnie Drew is the best of a great lot; the song tells the fictional story of a ship called The Irish Rover, which comes to an unfortunate end.
3. The Fields of Athenry by Paddy Reilly – Ireland’s unofficial anthem
‘The Fields of Athenry’ is often referred to as Ireland’s unofficial anthem and is often belted out with pride in Irish pubs and nightclubs.
Written in 1979, the song depicts a family whose lives are torn apart during the Irish famine when the husband is sent to prison for stealing corn to feed his starving family.
2. I Tell Me Ma by Van Morrison and The Chieftains – one of the best Irish drinking songs of all time
This Irish drinking song started as a children’s song from the 19th-century, which was reinvented by a variety of singers in the 20th-century and transformed into one of the very best Irish drinking songs of all time.
The most popular version of the song is by Van Morrison and The Chieftains.
1. The Wild Rover by The Pogues – an ironic drinking song
Number one on our list of the top ten best Irish drinking songs is ‘The Wild Rover’ by The Pogues, which is, ironically, a drinking song about a man who is trying his best to stay sober!
The song can trace its origins back to the mid-19th-century and has remained just as popular today.
The song is best known for its “No, nay, never… No, nay, never, no more” line, which is always a favourite in Irish pubs.
That concludes our list of what we believe to be the top ten best Irish drinking songs of all time. Are there any other Irish drinking songs that you think deserved to be on our list?
Conor Wickham is a writer from County Wexford with a keen interest in discovering everything Ireland has to offer. From sleeping in tree houses in the Ox Mountains to staying in shepherd huts in Donegal, Conor has experienced it. With a degree in Marketing & Advertising with Online Media, Conor has used his love of writing to guide his career path and has worked as a Website Content Writer/SEO Specialist in the past. When not exploring Ireland and finding out its secrets, Conor can usually be found hiking or working on his long awaited (long awaited by him at least!) supernatural thriller novel series.