21 Irish Funeral Songs

12. “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues

“Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues

Song Year: 1988

Most people associate this song with Christmas time as that’s its setting, but it’s more than that. It’s a very Irish song that talks about the immigrant’s story. The singer feels love and hope to begin with, but it quickly fades.

It doesn’t matter what the lyrics are; what matters is how the song makes you feel.

And this song’s sorrowful, poignant tune makes it a popular choice for funerals.

13. “The Rare Ould Times” by The Dubliners

Song Year: 1979

“The Rare Ould Times” is another fantastic Irish tune, especially if you’re a Dubliner. The singer talks about aging regarding Dublin and themselves. Things always change for better or for worse, though the singer decided they’re worse.

He’s bitter in his old age and too stuck in his ways. That’s why he remembers fondly the way Dublin used to be. It’s a song full of love and nostalgia (but also mourning) for old Dublin.

14. “The Soft Goodbye” by Celtic Woman

Song Year: 2005

This song is exactly what it says it is, a soft goodbye. It’s a beautiful song that evokes a sense of peace and calm. The singers are choosing to focus on love instead of loss. They believe they’ll meet their love again one day.

“The Soft Goodbye” seems full of hope for the afterlife rather than simply grief. Because this song is sung by a group of people, there’s a stronger sense of community and connection. We aren’t alone in life, not even through the bad times.

15. “Jealous of the Angels” by Donna Taggart

Song Year: 2013

“Jealous of the Angels” expresses what many of us feel when a loved one is gone. There’s a shock from the events and denial that they’re real. The singer tries to understand why it happened, though she won’t question God’s will.

The song is full of love, appreciation, and longing for the person who’s gone. There’s also some underlying hope to be reunited one day in Heaven. That’s why the singer is jealous of the angels because they get to see her loved one.

16. “One More Day” by Sinéad O’Connor

Song Year: 2003

“One More Day” isn’t about having more time with someone who’s gone. It’s actually about being able to move on after a loss. This ballad is full of sadness, grief, and heartbreak. The singer loves the person who’s gone very much; they find themselves overcome with feelings.

But, no matter how bad things seem to get, the sun is still going to rise tomorrow. It’s a gentle reminder that things will eventually get easier. There’s also a beautiful verse in this song sung in Irish Gaelic.

17. “Boolavogue” by The Dubliners

Song Year: 1976

You can play “Boolavogue” at any funeral, but it’s most appropriate at a soldier’s funeral. This song remembers an Irish uprising in a town called Boolavogue in 1798. Father John Murphy led his people against the English and got killed for it.

This song honors him and his sacrifice for Irish freedom. That’s why it’s a soldier’s song, though many Irish folks relate to it. It’d be hard to find an Irishman who isn’t proud to be Irish.

18. “Lux Eterna, My Eternal Friend” by Shaun Davey

Song Year: 1998

The first part of this haunting melody is a Latin prayer. Not being able to speak Latin doesn’t mean you can’t understand the emotions conveyed. This prayer is asking for God’s eternal light to shine upon the one who’s gone.

The prayer’s also asking for them to have eternal rest. The last bit of this piece is spoken rather than sung. It’s a man who’s reflecting on the great friendship he had with the man who died. It’s nice to celebrate the love between friends, too.

19. “Fields of Gold” by Eva Cassidy

Song Year: 1996

“Fields of Gold” is a moving Irish funeral song. The lyrics provide comfort to those who are religious. It says we’ll be reunited with our loved ones one day in the fields from the title. The singer promises it to their loved ones.

This song is full of love and nostalgia for the times that were shared. There were moments when the singer and her love were so happy together that they forgot about everything else. She hopes for that again.

20. “The Auld Triangle” by Luke Kelly

Song Year: 1967

“The Auld Triangle” refers to a triangle that guards used to wake prisoners in Mountjoy Prison. Brendan Behan (a friend of the song’s writer, Dick Shannon) made the song famous by using it in a play. He set the play before an inmate’s execution.

The crime isn’t specified, but this song later became identified with the Irish rebel spirit. That’s why you’ll often hear it at Irish funerals.

21. “Red is the Rose” by The High Kings

Song Year: 2010

“Red is the Rose” is about two lovers who’ve become separated. They have to leave each other even though they don’t want to. They both promised to love each other forever and plan to keep that promise despite the pain it’ll bring.

Losing a loved one is like that. We feel grief and sadness because we loved them, but we don’t plan on stopping. This cover by The High Kings is particularly beautiful because it’s acapella. There’s no music to distract you from the lyrics.

Best Irish Funeral Songs, Final Thoughts

In general, traditional Irish music’s genre is folk. You’ll find this has influenced their funeral music, too. There’s a lot of fiddle, flute, and banjo. The Irish also frequently use bagpipes.

Somehow all these instruments work perfectly to convey sadness, longing, and grief. These Irish funeral songs are proof of that. We hope one of these many beautiful ballads can provide comfort to you and your loved ones. If these aren’t exactly your style, you may want to try a different genre

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