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Published on April 10th, 2010 | by bngr


The Greatest Ireland-Only Hits

I was trying to describe Paul Brady to an English (well-known twitterati) friend recently and it got me thinking about all the famous songs that are as famous to us as those of the Beatles or Madonna but are moreorless unknown outside of Ireland.  Two years ago I saw Mundy at Oxegen and gave it socks along with thousands to July and Galway Girl; a few weeks later I danced and sang as enthuasiastically to the same songs at a UK festival but the thousands there just politely tapped their heads because the music was all new to them. It’s a very strange place to be.

So I decided to try and put together a list of all those songs that we know and they don’t and the fruits of my labour are below, categorised into the glory 80s & early 90s; the 2000s; folk; Eurovision hits; singer-songwriters, and others.  There’s no U2, Van Morrisson, Sinead O’Connor, The Script, Daniel O’Donnell, Chris De Burgh etc as they’ve all made it big abroad. If a song made it into the charts in the UK or US its out; its harder to keep track of whether they made it big in other countries but I left out Jonny Logan cause he’s big throughout Europe despite not breaking the UK.  Then there are the non-Irish acts that make it only in Ireland. David Gray is the obvious one, headlining at Witnness while playing to a few hundred at home, but all his songs eventually made the charts abroad.

On the stats front, in the top charting songs of all time in Ireland, a few Ireland-only songs feature. In second place with 13 weeks at No. 1 is “Put ‘Em Under Pressure” (for info No. 1 is Riverdance); in joint seventh place with 10 weeks at No. 1 is “Maniac 2000”, while in joint ninth place with 9 weeks at No. 1 is  “I Useta Love Her”. In terms of Ireland-only artists with the most No. 1s in the Irish charts, Dustin and Dickie Rock make the top list.  See here for more.

So can you think of any more to add to the list?   Can you think of any non-Irish acts that made it big only in Ireland?   Are there any songs that shouldn’t be on the list as they are known abroad?   Are there any songs that shouldn’t be on the list cause you think they’re shite?   What would be your top 5 favourite Ireland-only hits?

Let me know.

And for anyone reading who’s new to Ireland or Irish music, any and all of these songs are worth a youtubing, especially my top-ten list at the end of the post:

The Glory Years

Bagatelle – Summer in Dublin
Aslan – This Is
Aslan – Crazy World
Hot House Flowers – Love Dont Work This Way
The Four of Us – Mary
Saw Doctors – I Useta Love Her
Saw Doctors – N17
A House – Endless Art
Something Happens – Parachute
Something Happens – Hello, Hello, Hello
Emotional Fish – Celebrate
Sultans of Ping – Where’s Me Jumper
In Tua Nua – All I Wanted
Cry Before Dawn – Gone Forever
The Frames – Revelate
Whipping Boy – When We Were Young
The Stunning – Brewing Up a Storm
The Stunning – Half Past Two
Those Nervous Animals – My Friend John
The Golden Horde – Friends in Time

The 2000s

Republic of Loose – Comeback Girl
Republic of Loose – You Know It
Republic of Loose – The Steady Song
Mundy – July
Sharon Shannon & Mundy – Galway Girl
Cathy Davey – Rueben
The Blizzards – Trust Me, I’m A Doctor
Picturehouse – Sunburst
Picturehouse – Everybody Loves My Girl
David Kitt  – You know What I Want To know
Bell X1 – The Flame


Christy Moore – Don’t Forget Your Shovel
Christy Moore – Lisdoonvarna
Christy Moore – The Voyage
Christy Moore – Ride On
Mary Black – No Frontiers
Mary Black – Past the Point of Rescue
Mary Black – Carolina Rua
Eleanor McEvoy – A Woman’s Heart
Francis Black – Smile on Your Face
Jonny McEvoy – Michael Collins

The Eurovision Hits
Mickey (Joe) Harte – We’ve Got The World Tonight
Niamh Kavanagh – In Your Eyes
Linda Martin – Why Me
Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan – Rock n Roll Kids

Brian Kennedy – Put a Message in the Box
Brian Kennedy – Life Love and Happiness
Brian Kennedy – A Better Man
Paul Brady – Long Goodbye
Paul Brady – Nobody Knows
Paul Brady – The Island
Paddy Casey – Whatever Gets You True
Paddy Casey – Saints and Sinners
Paddy Casey – The Lucky One
Paddy Casey – Addicted to Company
Damien Dempsey – Its All Good


Horslips – Dearg Doom
Phil Coulter – Town I Love So Well
Mark McCabe – Maniac 2000
Rep Ireland Football Squad – Put ’em Under Pressure
Liam Harrisson – Give it a Lash Jack
Joe Dolan – Good Looking Woman
Mic Christopher – Hey Day
Dustin the Turkey – Christmas Tree
Dustin the Turkey – Rat Trap
Richie Kavanagh – Aon Focal Eile
Pat Shortt – Jumbo Breakfast Roll
Stepaside – The Last Resort
Sonny Knowles – The Only Couple on the Floor

Here’s my Top Ten Ireland-only Classics

Aslan – This Is
The Four of Us – Mary
Saw Doctors – I Useta Love Her
Republic of Loose – Comeback Girl
Christy Moore – Lisdoonvarna
Paul Brady – The Island
Paddy Casey – Saints and Sinners
Phil Coulter – Town I Love So Well
The Stunning -Half Past Two
Rep Ireland Football Squad – Put ’em Under Pressure

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10 Responses to The Greatest Ireland-Only Hits

  1. Andrew says:

    What about David Kitt – You Know What I Want To Know, great tune!

  2. Those republic of loose people, they’re those “moo-sic” feckers yeah? man I hate them

    but ya gotta love a bitta Mickey Joe!

  3. Great list. Personally I would add Revelate by The Frames to it, and maybe some Whipping Boy

  4. Voodoolady says:

    loose, loose, loose

  5. Sweary says:

    A lot of this is down to Ireland’s occasional, but very alarming, lapses into tasteless hysteria. Galway Girl is an absolute shocker of a song.

    Funny you mention Maniac 2000. The story went that promotional copies were sent to UK DJs, who immediately started using the vinyl as frisbees. And too right; the song was a shambles, a lazy, ugly, cynical attempt to cash in on club culture.Tragically, we were too thick (and possibly too hormonal, it being targeted at teenagers) to see through it. Ireland’s most shameful number 1, without a doubt.

    The strange thing is that around the same time, Ireland came down with a case of Good Taste and sent Delerium’s Silence (the prog-house Santuary remix, not the horrible Tiesto one) to number 1. Talk about see-sawing!

  6. Julie says:

    Hmm, I’m thinking that Brian Kennedy doesn’t really fit in the list – although he may not have made a big impact on the charts in the UK, I’d heard him played lots on the radio (admittedly, mostly by Terry Wogan!) and was well aware of who he was well before I moved to Ireland…

  7. Bngr says:

    Andrew – I looked over David Kitt’s music but couldn’t find any big hits but I’ll add that cheers.

    JM – It wasn’t the same after Mickey lost the Joe.

    Richie – cheers, I also couldn’t find any Frames songs I know despite them being around on the scene forever. Also don’t know anything about Whipping Boy, they must be new to me.

    Voodoo – rock on mrs

    Sweary – depsite those hits being cheese-central I cherish them for uniting us as a nation, as with Put Em Under Pressure. The Maniac rap is a great chant .

    Julie – thanks for letting me know.

  8. Niall says:

    I’d add in Flame by Bell X1, but then that’s just me…

  9. Bngr says:

    Niall, I had left out Bell X1 cause they seemed to be big in the States but that song only got to No 65 in UK so I think we could add that in.

  10. bngr says:

    Ok I’ve updated the post and added in all your suggestions; thanks Andrew, Richie, Niall, @mickpuck.

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