Top 10 Irish songs you learned in school

If you’ve experienced an Irish education, chances are you’ll remember the top ten Irish songs you learned in school!

Whether you excelled in your Irish homework or hated the difficult grammar, everyone could agree on the songs.

They were catchy, uplifting, and a joy to sing in the classroom whenever the teacher was in a good mood.

Even if you haven’t gone through the Irish school system, these songs are not to be missed.

A fantastic Irish musician by the name of John Spillane has fed our nostalgia with a collection of songs entitled, ‘Irish Songs We Learned at School, Ar Ais Arís!’ (Back again).

Explore our favourites from this record with a countdown of the top ten Irish songs you learned in school.

10. Dilín Ó Deamhas – a gem from way back when

Dillín Ó Deamhas is a traditional Irish nursery rhyme for kids. It involves a lot of nonsense words and sounds that we enjoyed singing during the early stages of primary school.

The song offers a great way for children to get used to hearing and using Irish language phonics for the first time.

9. Oíche Chiúin – for a magical Christmas

You knew it was Christmas when you sang Oíche Chiúin.
Credit: Pixabay / camknows

Oíche Chiúin is the Irish language translation of the Christmas carol ‘Silent Night’. It follows the same tune and is equally as haunting and soothing as the English version.

Children in Irish primary schools continue to bring peace to classrooms every Christmas with this hit.

Enya, the international star from County Donegal, also recorded a stunning rendition of this song that we implore you to check out!

8. An Poc ar Buile – plain and simple

An Poc ar Buile is one of the Irish songs you learned in school.

You will remember this one as a delightfully bouncy song about an angry goat and all the mischief he gets up to.

How could we list the top ten Irish songs you learned in school without it?

7. Trasna na dTonnta – the actions were our favourite part

Do you remember waving your arms about to Trasna na dTonnta?

This song’s title translates as ‘Across the Waves’. Some of you might remember flailing your arms about while belting out this song at school.

It describes an Irish immigrant’s experience with returning home to Ireland and how relieved they are to be free from loneliness.

6. Báidín Fheilimí – extra points if you managed to hit the high notes in this one

Báidín Fheilimí is one of the Irish songs you learned in school.
Credit: Pixabay

This song is slow and endearing, with an almost sombre tone to it. The lyrics describe someone named Feilimí who travelled to Tory in a tiny boat and crashed.

It is a very popular song for young Irish learners because it uses several adjectives to describe Feilimí’s tiny, lively, straight little boat.

5. An Spailpín Fánach – one of the catchiest songs to enter the classroom

From the 17th to the 20th-century in Ireland, a ‘spailpín’ was a young man or boy who would travel from town to town in search of farm work.

This involved strenuous labour and low pay or pay in the form of some food and lodging.

The song ‘An Spailpín Fánach’ reveals the hardships of this work, though it is contrasted with a cheerful tune. 

4. Bean Pháidín – a song that is not as romantic as you once thought

Bean Pháidín is one of the Irish songs you learned in school.

During your school days, the energetic nature of Bean Pháidín may have fooled you into thinking that it was a happy song, but we must bust your bubble on this one.

The song tells the story of a woman who longs to be Páidín’s wife and for Páidín’s real wife to die.

There is even an entire verse where the speaker condemns Páidín’s wife to break her legs.

Yes, just like ‘Rock-a-Bye Baby’ and ‘Jack and Jill’, the Irish language songs for children can be dark as well!

3. Beidh Aonach Amárach – translates as ‘there will be a fair tomorrow’

Beidh Aonach Amárach translates as 'there will be a fair tomorrow'.
Credit: Flickr / Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Beidh Aonach Amárach is another great tune on our list of the top ten Irish songs you learned in school.

It is a lively ‘call’ and ‘answer’ between a mother and child. The child pleads with her mother for permission to attend a fair that will take place the next day in County Clare, the subject of the chorus.

The mother is reluctant to let her daughter attend because she’s not yet ten or 11. The repetition in this one made it easy for us to sing as primary school students!

2. Peigín Litir Móir – a title that’s impossible to read without singing it

Peigín Litir Móir is one of the Irish songs you learned in school.
Credit: Flickr / camknows

We screamed it at the top of our lungs in primary school, and now, Peigín Litir Móir is every Irish person’s go-to when asked to ‘sing something in Irish’!

The lyrics of this song address Peigín, a young girl from the village of Lettermore in Connemara, County Galway.

It has a happy, upbeat melody to accompany the storyteller’s praise for Peigín and how she is adored by many.

1. Amhrán na bhFiann – the song that every Irish person learned in school

A list of the top ten Irish songs you learned in school is incomplete without Amhrán na bhFiann.

This is our national anthem that you will hear in Dublin’s Croke Park before a Gaelic football or hurling match.

It instils pride in the Irish and a sense of belonging for Ireland’s admirers both near and far.