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St. Patrick's Day Playlist: 10 of the Best Irish Songs to Bring Out Your Green Side

By Carolyn Menyes c.menyes@musictimes.com | Mar 17, 2016 01:09 PM EDT

Happy St. Patrick's Day! March 17 marks a celebration of all things Irish, from the color green to Guinness to bagpipes and river dancing. But, just like beer and clovers, Ireland has offered up some of the best music over the years. And what better day to celebrate than 10 of the best Irish songs?

From '90s hits to modern pop and timeless rock classics, get your Irish on today with our playlist.

01. One Direction, "Story of My Life"

Niall Horan may be the member of One Direction who gets the least amount of love (undeservedly), but he's one of the biggest songwriting contributors to the boy band. One of his shining moments is as a co-writer on the standout Midnight Memories track "Story of My Life," one of the best songs in 1D's discography.

02. The Cranberries, "Dreams"

Though they may be best known for the strong wail of "Zombie," there's something distinctively and especially Irish about The Cranberries' debut single "Dreams." Released in 1992, lead singer Dolores O'Riordan's sweet runs in the post-chorus are just as dreamy as the track's title implies.

03. Hozier, "Take Me to Church"

While this mega-hit may have gotten beyond played out at the beginning of 2015, there's no denying that Hozier's "Take Me to Church" is a powerhouse of a song that once again brought an Irishman to the top of the charts all around the world.

04. The Corrs, "Breathless"

The 1990s were a great time for Irish musicians (and their fans), and The Corrs rode that path to glorious success with their hit "Breathless." Mixing together a driving pop-rock beat with a chorus that remains as infections today as it did 20 years ago, "Breathless" is one of those Irish hits that should not be forgotten.

05. The Frames, "Falling Slowly"

There are few songwriters who can get to the nuances of the human emotional experience quite like The Frames' Glen Hansard. The band (and its frontman), however, are best known for the indie film Once. The song's emotional and musical centerpiece, the Oscar-winning "Falling Slowly," may be an obvious pick, but it is as heart-wrenching today as it was a decade ago.

06. Sinead O'Connor, "Nothing Compares 2 U"

Is there a singer with a more Irish name and a definitive hit that Sinead O'Connor and her massive take on "Nothing Compares 2 U"? Accompanied with an iconic music video (in which O'Connor cries a single tear), "Nothing Compares 2 U" helped define the early era of MTV and continues to be one of the most touching ballads of all time.

07. Enya, "Orinoco Flow"

Though she may be best known for her slow moving single "Only Time," Enya's true standout track is the ethereal "Orinoco Flow." Mixing together drippy stings, a dreamlike vocal delivery and more sonic layers than one can even count, "Orinoco Flow" is, somehow, distinctively Irish.

08. Van Morrison, "Brown Eyed Girl"

Van Morrison may sound less Irish than most of the other acts on this list, but this classic rock legend's roots run deep. Arguably his biggest hit, "Brown Eyed Girl" channels the easy, breezy feeling of early spring, perfectly tying into any rockist's St. Patrick's Day festivities.

09. B*Witched, "C'est la Vie"

One Direction isn't the only pop group with an Irish member in it - late '90s girl group B*Witched is full of them, and boy, does this song channel its national roots. From the opening spoken intro of "Some people say I look just like me da" to the constant presence of fiddles that just make you want to clog, this old school pop jam is 100 percent Irish.

10. U2, "Sunday Bloody Sunday"

Would any Irish music list be complete without the inclusion of U2? U2 has never shied away from the political spectrum, and this classic track tackles the Northern Ireland conflict of the late 20th century and the infamous Bloody Sunday massacre, making it an integral part of Irish music history.

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