Music is an integral part of Irish culture, and it is something that intrigues people all over the world.
Many Irish artists have achieved success in the Irish music scene as well as around the world over 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’s past and discover the ten greatest Irish rock bands of all time.
10. Greenhouse flowers – a huge success of their time
Mixing Irish rock with gospel, soul and classic rock influences produces great results, as we saw 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 group that continues to be strong
Snow Patrol are a Scottish/North Irish rock band with huge hits such as ‘Chasing Cars’ and ‘Just Say Yes’. Lead singer Gary Lightbody also had a very successful collaboration with Taylor Swift for the song “The Last Time.”
8. Aslan- a much-loved classic Irish rock band
Aslan’s frontman is, of course, Christy Dignam, and as a band they’ve released six studio albums. They took their name from Aslan, the lion who featured in The Chronicles of Narnia.
7. The Scenario – create blow by blow
An Irish rock band that is still going strong today is The Script. In their early days, they even had songs featured on TV shows like The hills, made in Chelsea, and The Vampire Diaries.
6. Frames – influential on the Dublin music scene
Glen Hansard is the man who founded The Frames in 1990. The band made a name for themselves on the rock scene in Dublin. Everyone who has seen the movie Once may recognize the lead actor as Glen Hansard.
5. The Corrs – a family of talented musicians
The Corrs featured four siblings originally from Co. Louth. They revisit classic rock and pop-rock by mixing them with traditional Irish themes.
Everyone in the world knows this epic band and their songs are always playing on the radio.
4. The Boomtown Rats – the band behind epic and classic hits
This epic Irish rock band formed in Dublin and was fronted by Sir Bob Geldof to produce worldwide hits like ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and ‘Rat Trap’.
Geldof himself became one of the most famous charity figures, having organized “Live Aid” in 1985.
3. Thin Lizzy – bringing Dublin rock to the world 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’s a permanent statue of him in Dublin city centre. This makes Thin Lizzy one of the best Irish rock bands of all time.
2. Cranberries – a group that influenced the world
The Cranberries are, of course, one of the best Irish rock bands of all time and featured ultra-cool singer Dolores O’ Riordan.
The band’s timeless rock songs, known around the world, are still proudly performed to this day.
1. U2 – one of the most beloved bands of all time
U2, which formed in 1976, have become one of the most popular rock bands in the world and have been hailed as one of the most innovative, putting them at the top of our list of the top ten bands of Irish rock all the time.
With Bono’s vocals, Edge’s unique guitar style, and backing from Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr, the band made an impression around 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 with certainty is that each of them really has its own sound, and they have influenced many musicians around the world because of it.
It’s hard to define Irish rock when you see how different each of these bands is, and that’s what makes them so unique; bringing their own unique charm and musical styles to the table means we’ve got plenty to listen to for years to come.
Other notable mentions
DC Fountains: Fontaines DC are an Irish post-punk band formed in Dublin in 2017.
The Pogues: With Shane MacGowan as frontman, The Pogues are legendary in the world of Celtic punk and rock bands. Shane MacGowan is a legendary Irish singer known around 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 dear love: In the 80s and 90s, Irish punk fractured into new styles of alternative rock. This included forming Dublin band My Bloody Valentine.
The nuances: Derry rock band The Undertones are perhaps best known for their song ‘Teenage Kicks’. Feargal Sharkey was the leader.
Virgin prunes: A lesser-known post-punk band, Virgin Prunes, emerged around the same time as U2.
Irish Rock Bands & Musicians FAQ
Who is the most famous Irish solo singer?
Many people think that Enya is the most famous Irish solo singer.
What is Ireland’s most famous band?
The most famous Irish group in the world would be U2.
When was Thin Lizzy’s “Whiskey in the Jar” released?
The hugely popular Thin Lizzy song was released in 1996.