List of Irish ballads

The following are often-sung Irish folk ballads. The songs are arranged by theme under two main categories of 'Political' and 'Not Political' and are not necessarily contemporary to the events to which they relate.

Songs may fit into more than one category, but where possible are grouped uniquely to where is most appropriate.


Anti-War and Anti-Recruiting

16th and 17th centuries

Napoleonic Wars

  • Bonny Bunch of Roses
  • Bonny Light Horseman
  • Eighteenth of June
  • Grand Conversation on Napoleon
  • Granuaile
  • Isle of Saint Helena
  • Lonely Waterloo
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Napoleon's Farewell to Paris
  • Napoleon's Lamentation
  • Plains of Waterloo
  • Wounded Hussar
  • Welcome Napoleon to Erin

1798 Rebellion

Songs relating to the Irish Rebellion of 1798(though not necessarily contemporary):

19th century

1916 Rising

War of Independence and Post-Treaty Republicanism

The Great War 1914 - 1918

  • Clare's Dragoons - lyrics here
  • The Connaght Rangers - by Charles Martin, lyrics here Not to be confused with the song of the same name by Brian Warfield which refers to the mutiny of the First Battalion of the regiment in response to the Irish Civil War.
  • Gallipoli - lyrics here
  • The Green Fields of France - lyrics here
  • It's a Long Way to Tipperary
  • Salonica - song about the Irish serving in the British Army in the First World War.

Northern Conflict 1969-98


Miscellaneous and Uncategorised

Work and Industry

Love, Sex and Romance

These songs can be grouped as: aislings, broken token songs, night visiting songs etc. See also Hedgeschool Master songs below, many of which are love songs.

Places, Emigration and Travel

Songs of the Travelling People

  • The Blue Tar Road - song by Liam Weldon
  • Danny Farrell
  • Goodbye to the Thirty Foot Trailer - also known as 'Farewell to the Life of the Rover'
  • Last of the Travelling People - song by Pecker Dunne
  • The Tinker's Lullaby - song by Pecker Dunne

Sport,Play and Fighting

Murder Ballads


Hedge Schoolmaster Songs

  • The Boys of Mullaghbawn
  • Cloghamon Mill
  • The Colleen Rue
  • The Cottage Maid
  • The Cuckoo's Nest - by John Sheils
  • Flower of Gortade
  • Old Arboe - a song in praise of a spot near Lough Neagh in Co Tyrone
  • Sheila Nee Iyer - parody of an aisling



  • Soodlum's Irish Ballad Book, Oak publications, 1982, ISBN-10: 082560284X ISBN-13: 978-0825602849. Irish song lyrics chords and videos

See also

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