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Irish history is rich in culture, especially literature and music. Irish folk ballads are songs and hymns that have been passed down from generation to generation. Many of these Irish ballads focus around themes such as war, love, friendship and camaraderie, and work and politics. The Irish also have specific musical instruments that are native to their culture. They include:

There are many well known Irish ballads all throughout the world. Some of the most recognizable Irish ballads are as follows:

  • A Great Day for the Irish – This song was written in 1940 by Roger Edens. This song has become the unofficial St. Patrick’s Day anthem.
  • Danny Boy – A very familiar folk song, that dates back to 1915. Many edits and different versions of this song of this song has been passed on through the years. One of the most famous version was done by Elsie Griffin.
  • My Wild Irish Rose – Published in 1899, this song was composed by Chauncey Olcott. This song originally appeared in the play A Romance of Athlone.
  • That’s an Irish Lullaby – Written in 1913 by James Royce Shannon, this song became a well covered ballad by the likes of Bing Crosby and Van Morrison.
  • Cockles And Mussels – Written and composed by James Yorkston, this song is also known as Molly Malone.
  • The Rose of Tralee – The music of this song is credited to Charles William Glover. This song gave way to the international festival of the same name.
  • Peggy O’Neil – Co-written by Gilbert Dodge, Edward Nelson and Harry Pease, this song was record in 1921.
  • The Parting Glass – This Irish ballad, made famous by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, has been attributed back centuries to around the 1600s.
  • It’s the Same Old Shillelagh – Another Irish ballad made famous by the likes of Bing Crosby, this Irish song was written by Pat White.

If you are looking for more information on traditional Irish ballads, there are plenty of websites on the internet that provide lyrics, in addition to places to purchase Irish music. Here are a few:

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