I was introduced to Irish music at a fairly early age by my father who had WROL 950 AM on every Saturday when I was a kid. My sisters did Irish step dancing and I nearly always had to run in at the end of their practices to let them know we were parked outside and almost always attended their feis. I was somewhat resistant to it back then and didn’t appreciate it as much as I do today. I do, however, recall the time I fully came around to enjoying Irish music. It was a Saturday afternoon in the spring when my father took me and my younger sister to Tony’s Clam Shop over on Wollaston Beach for lunch. We sat in my fathers car listening to The Irish Hit Parade with the windows down looking at the water. I started tapping my hand outside the window during a jig that was playing and at first was trying not to let my father notice (he did anyway) and then I realized right then that I actually really like this. And I haven’t looked back since.
I have many memories of my parents or grandparents playing Irish music around the house or in the car. I remember my dad pointing out when they say “Flynn” in “Dear Old Donegal” and my mom blasting “Reel Around the Sun” from her Riverdance CD while making her famous Irish bread. Fast forward a few years and I’m listening to “Fields of Athenry” every morning on the way to school as a junior in high school and singing Irish songs with my friends on the weekends. Not much has changed since then; I’m still singing the same chunes now in bars while enjoying some of the very best of Irish grains. I like driving around on a Saturday listening to The Irish Hit Parade and Bailey Ceili, but most of all, I love putting on my headphones and just relax to some of my favorite ballads.
Here though, are some of those songs that I remember listening to as a kid.
Dear Old Donegal
If You’re Irish
Riverdance (also see Reel Around the Sun above)
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
When You Were Sweet Sixteen
Whiskey in The Jar