Five Favorites: Irish Folk Songs

Five Favorites

Here’s another foray into my eclectic tastes in music!


“I’ll Tell Me Ma” by Van Morrison and the Chieftains. This is the song that spawned my search for Irish music on YouTube this weekend. My parents have the album on both CD and cassette tape so I grew up with it. Doing a search on just the song “I’ll Tell Me Ma” led me to several other groups.


“Star of the County Down” by Orthodox Celts. A Serbian band singing Irish and Scottish ballads — I love the harmonies which remind me of Eastern Orthodox church music. This is also a favorite tune of mine.


“Rocky Road to Dublin” by the High Kings. Apparently, I was under a rock 5 years ago (or living in Montana) when these boys burst onto the folk scene. They’ve got a pedigree for folk music — one is the son of one of the Clancy Brothers and two performed in Riverdance in addition to being on Broadway. Yet another has toured with other bands. I love their version of this song.

Contrast this with the version that the Rolling Stones did with the Chieftains which has some riffs of “Satisfaction” in it.


“The Little Beggarman” by the High Kings. I love the puirt à beul (“mouth singing” — it’s kind of scat-singing in jazz) and the little bits of choreography in this one.


“Marie’s Wedding” by the High King. More lovely puirt à beul in this one and I love that they’re doing it conversationally in the beginning. You also get to hear the individual voices which is another wonderful thing about their version.

Here’s the Chieftains version with Van Morrison.

Go love up Hallie.

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About Jen

Jen isn't quite sure when she lost her mind, but it is probably documented here on Meditatio. She blogs because the world needs her snark at all hours of the night... and she probably can't sleep anyway.

3 thoughts on “Five Favorites: Irish Folk Songs

  1. I LOVE Celtic Music–especially the Chieftains! It all started back in 7th grade with an issue of National Geographic on bogs… Anyway, the one that stuck with me was “Here’s a Heath to the Company” (, and I included it on my “Happy Graduation” mix CD for my friends senior year :). I look forward to listening to your selections :)!!

  2. Oh my – I’ve had celtic music in my blood for 40 years or longer, but now that I live in Mexico I rarely hear it (I’m not the type to have music playing in the background throughout the day). THANK YOU for stirring up something very deep for me1

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