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Want to get your groove on with Irish music? Consider giving these five famous exports a try: U2, Sinead O’Connor, Thin Lizzy, Snow Patrol, and Enya.


U2 is one of the top-selling rock bands of all time. This group has won more Grammy awards than any other musical act in history as of 2008. U2 is made up of Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton. Their lyrics often roll into both typical and atypical rock band subjects – from love, heartbreak, and loss to religious, political, and social commentary.

U2’s real legacy, many believe, is their perpetual emphasis on social issues and worldwide hunger relief. The band uses music as a forum for addressing major world matters.

Sinead O’Connor

The always controversial Sinead O’Connor is famous as much for her music as for her look and her attitude. This singer is unique in her look and her approach to life. Though she has quarreled with many producers, some rate her as one of the most gifted artists in Ireland and the world.

Her most famous hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” was written by Prince. Sinead’s recording of the song reached Number 1 in the charts. She was recognized globally as a talented musician in the in the early 1990s with the success of this recording. Over the years, Sinead O’Conner has earned many awards. However, she is prone to ignoring award shows and debasing their value. She, as many critics say, is her own person and artist and she literally marches to the beat of her own drum.

Thin Lizzy

Rock band Thin Lizzy was formed in Dublin in 1969. The band’s international hits include “The Boys are Back in Town” and “Jailbreak,” both of which hit the top of the charts around the world. Thin Lizzy is one of the first hard rock bands to employ the “twin guitar class” method of music making, which quickly became de rigueur for most rock bands and is seen on stage even today.

Phil Lynott founded the band and served as its bassist and as a songwriter. Thin Lizzy persevered after Lynott left the band in 1983 to pursue his solo efforts. The remaining band members never achieved the success of the original ensemble. Lynott died in 1996. The band plays on even today and maintains several original members along with new additions. Though the band still tours internationally, there are no immediate plans to record a new album.

Snow Patrol

Irish music-lovers can listen to Snow Patrol for a completely different change of pace. This alternative rock band found fame in recent years. Their song “Signal Fire” got major exposure on the soundtrack to the movie Superman 3.

Snow Patrol formed in Dundee in late 1994 as a university band. Mark McClelland originated the band. Formerly known as Shrug, the band also used the name Polar Bear before settling on Snow Patrol a few years later.


Many people are familiar with Enya’s smooth music and New Age sound. She is the best selling solo artist in Ireland and is the country’s second biggest musical export, after U2. Enya was born to a large musical family and found her musical footing as a solo artist in 1983 when she recorded the album Touch Travel. In the late 1980s, she achieved international success, and to this day, enjoys the name recognition and fame that comes from having a long and varied career.

These five bands represent the rich diversity of Irish music, but there are many others to explore in your quest for music from Ireland.

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