How many Irish rock bands do you know of?
Music is an unquantifiable part of Irish culture. It is woven into the tapestry of our community and has defined us as a nation as far back as records date.
Today, it is still as prevalent as ever. And, moving with the times, our little island nation of Ireland has produced some pretty impressive rock bands who have won over crowds across the globe.
Stretching from all across Ireland, talent prevails in abundance. However, these five groups have got to be the top Irish rock bands of all time.
Aslan first formed in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, in 1982. Members included Christy Dignam, Joe Jewell, Billy McGuinness, Alan Downey, Rodney O’Brien and Sean Kelly. They were active from 1982-1988, when they took a hiatus, only to resume in 1993; they have been active since.
Throughout their career, they produced six studio albums and first earned their claim to fame with their single “Crazy World”, which stayed in the Irish charts for a whopping three months. It also was awarded “Single of the Year” at Hot Press Awards in 1993.
They have toured many times and been nominated for (and won) many awards throughout their career.
To this day, Aslan continues to draw crowds across Ireland and abroad, making them hands down one of the top Irish rock bands of all time.
4. The Coronas
The Coronas formed in Dublin in 2003, consisting of Danny O’Reilly, Conor Egan, Graham Knox and Dave McPhillips. Three of the members (O’Reilly, Knox and Egan) met at Terenure College establishing friendship and a love for music early on.
Throughout their career, this Irish band have produced five studio albums, the first of which garnered them international attention for songs such as “Heroes or Ghosts” and “San Diego Song”.
They have won awards for their work, outshining the top competition. They’ve also stayed true to music vision, producing their work via their own independent label, 3ú Records.
3. The Cranberries
This Irish rock band first formed in Limerick in 1989. The line-up originally consisted of lead singer Niall Quinn, Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawler. The following year, in 1990, Quinn was replaced for female lead Dolores O’Riordan, solidifying the line-up for the course of their career.
The Cranberries were active until 2018 when O’Riordan was found dead of drowning in a London hotel bathtub.
The unexpected death caused shockwaves throughout the media, fans, and of course the band who chose to end the band’s career, in light of her death. Their final studio album, In the End, was released in 2019.
The band are one of the most impactful and reputable groups to have come out of Ireland. They first rose to fame in the 90s with their debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? Over the years, they’ve received critical-acclaim worldwide; they have sold over 40 million records and remained consistent in the charts at home and abroad.
2. Snow Patrol
Snow Patrol are a world-renowned rock group from Northern Ireland. Having first formed in 1994, members include Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Paul Wilson, Jonny Quinn and Johnny McDaid.
The band first came together – just Lightbody, Morrison, and McClelland – under the name of Shrug at the University of Dundee in 1994, before changing the name to Polarbar. In 1997 as the band developed in terms of music style and line-up, and they settled on the name Snow Patrol.
In 2002 the band shot to fame with their album, Final Straw, which sold over 3 million copies, followed by their next album Eyes Open (2006) which was the best-selling album of the year, selling over 6 million copies.
Snow Patrol has won many accolades for their music and continue to produce music and tour today.
The ultimate leading rock band to hail from Ireland has got to be U2. Having first formed in 1972 as boys at school in Dublin, U2 has kept its founding members throughout their career and to this very day: Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.
1983 saw their first international success with their album, War, yet it was their fifth studio album, The Joshua Tree (1987), which welcomed them to the world stage.
Over their career, they have released 14 studio albums and have sold over 170 million albums worldwide – making them one of the most popular bands of all time! They have won too many awards to name, and remain Ireland’s most famous rock band to date.