If you're Irish, have Irish blood running through your veins, or once bumped into an Irish person on the tube, you may feel compelled to spend the 17th March celebrating St Patrick's Day. Whether you're honouring the good man who rid Ireland of snakes by spending the whole day down the pub or just grabbing a pint after work, no St Patrick's Day would be complete without some fantastic Irish music.

The best Irish music is energetic, with strong voices telling wonderful stories, and is richly-layered with many instruments playing catchy tunes that will make you want to laugh, dance and cry - especially after a few gins.

Selecting tracks was tough but I approached it by thinking 'what songs would I want to hear as I slowly get pickled down the pub?' It felt unfair to limit such greats as The Dubliners and The Pogues to one song, so expect to hear large portions of fiddly-dee music and the distinct lack of U2, Enya and B*Witched- here's The 405's Essential St Patrick's Day Playlist:


Round One: Traditional Irish

Christy Moore - 'The Pursuit of Farmer Michael Hayes'

We start the first round of drinks with one of Ireland's greatest living folk artists singing about an evicted farmer killing his English landlord then going on the run. Outsmarting the authorities, and visiting almost every Irish town in the process, he escapes to America. Go Michael!

Planxty - 'The Blacksmith'

Moore was one of the founding members of Planxty, who recorded six influential albums between 1973 and 1983. Although 'The Blacksmith' sounds quintessentially Irish, Planxty were influenced by a vast variety of European folk music and instruments, and it's actually a traditional English song.

The Chieftains & Sinead O'Connor - 'The Foggy Dew'

After decades of playing traditional Celtic music, notably on the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's 1975 film Barry Lyndon, The Chieftains released the commercially and critically acclaimed The Long Black Veil in 1995. It features many collaborations including one with Sinead O'Connor, who sings a powerful rendition of an old republican anthem about the 1916 Easter Rising.



Fourth round when everybody fancies a sing: The Dubliners

'Black Velvet Band'

I could have chosen a dozen songs from The Dubliners' early back catalogue but this song shows off the grace of Luke Kelly's belting, fog-horn of a voice.

'Maids When You're Young Never Wed An Old Man'

This cautionary tale about an unfulfilled wife and her ageing husband is bawdy Irish humour at its best. Favourite line: "Damn well near smothered him!"

'I'll Tell Me Ma'

Put Sham Rock's 1998 pop-hit out of your head and replace it with Ronnie Drew's wonderfully gravelly rendition. It starts slow but gets quicker and quicker until your tapping toes will become dancing feet. Come on, it's time to get dancing.



Seventh round when everybody fancies a dance: The Pogues

'The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn'

Capturing the London-Irish experience of the '80s and early '90s, The Pogues were influenced by traditional Irish music but born in the punk rock squalor of '80s London.

'Wild Cats of Kilkenny'

This lesser-known instrumental track (apart from the odd whoop and cry) is the perfect rabble-rouser, so if you're not already channelling your inner Michael Flatley then now's the time to start.

'Sally MacLennane'

A classic song about the Irish diaspora leaving to find a better life abroad, yet looking forward to returning one day to the hometown boozer. We can all identify, Irish or not.

The Pogues and The Dubliners - 'The Irish Rover'

In 1987, two giants collided when Ronnie Drew joined Shane MacGowan in this memorable rendition of a folk classic about an ill-fated crew (and their dog).



Tenth round: Remembering Ireland's contribution to classic rock

The Chieftains & The Rolling Stones - 'Rocky Road to Dublin'

Another track from 1995's The Long Black Veil, this time with The Rolling Stones providing further depth to The Chieftains' classical sound and Keith Richards ad lobbing riffs from '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'. For purists, however, listen to Luke Kelly's famous version.

Thin Lizzy - 'Whiskey in the Jar'

Thin Lizzy's electric version, with Phil Lynott's effortlessly cool vocals, reinvented an Irish pub singalong classic and elevated it to become a rock classic across the world.

The Undertones - 'Teenage Kicks'

John Peel's favourite song is a perfect slice of Irish punk to accompany your messy drunken stupor. Enjoy it- you're gonna feel horrendous in the morning.



Last orders: the obligatory tears before bedtime

Sinead O'Connor - 'Danny Boy'

If you haven't already heard a teary-eyed elderly gent singing this down the pub before chucking-out time, go home and YouTube Sinead's 1993 a cappella live-performance from The Late Late Show. Spine-tinglingly good.