Irish Songs of Drinking and Rebellion for Kids (with free playlist and printables)

by | Mar 5, 2015 | Liturgical Living, March, Music, Printables, St. Patrick's Day | 28 comments

I grew up listening to showtunes and pop music. I am still pretty partial to both. But, ya know, ya get married and are introduced to whole new worlds you never even knew existed. Like Irish Folk music, for instance. I wasn’t aware of any such thing until I met my husband, a Chicago Southside Irish-type.
I was, um, surprised and amused by the subject matter of many of the songs. They sing about love and romance and unicorns, some. But mostly they sing about wars and fist fights and sports and shipwrecks and starving and getting thrown into jail because of untoward young ladies, and whiskey. They sing about whiskey a LOT.
Anyway, I’ve grown to really love Irish folk music in spite of and because of all its craziness. And my kids have grown up loving it. Bobby’s rendition of Whiskey You’re the Devil at the Hooley (our big St. Patrick’s Day party) when he was five was really one for the ages.
Most of the songs are amusing, and crack the kids up. But they can also be poignant and moving. They do sometimes address sophisticated subject matter, but not in a way that makes me uncomfortable, and mostly there are appropriate consequences for bad behavior. Except for the whiskey drinking, they just unapologetically support doing quite a bit of that. So far, I haven’t found that listening to Irish Folk music has made my kids big whiskey drinkers. I’ll keep you posted, though.
So I’m figuring maybe, just maybe, these songs are missing from your lives. And the lives of your children. I want to help you fix that, by giving you a little playlist to enjoy. And maybe play at your St. Patrick’s Day party or tea party play date
Then, once you come to love them like we do, you can come back here and grab the printables I made featuring our favorite songs, so you can use them to decorate the Irish Pub-themed playroom you’ll be sure to want to install.
The playlist is on Spotify. If you’re logged in to your account, you can just hit play and start listening. If you don’t have an account yet, you can head over to Spotify to sign up. It’s free if you don’t mind listening to an ad every few songs. Or you can get a premium membership, and go commercial-free.

If the player doesn’t work for you, here’s a link; Hooley at the Tierneys’: the soundtrack

That’s over two hours worth of songs (and growing with all your good suggestions!), and we like ’em all. But, I was working on some decorations for this year’s Hooley, featuring a few of our VERY favorites, so here they are.

The Wild Colonial Boy

Whiskey You’re the Devil


Tim Finnegan’s Wake


Courtin’ in the Kitchen

(in which I first heard of a Hooley)

Bould Thady Quill


Black Velvet Band


You’re welcome to right click and save any of these images. You may print them for your own personal use or as gifts. You can upload them to photo labs, like Shutterfly or Costco or Target, and have them printed there. You can get them made into pillows at Tiny Prints (that’s what *I’m* doing, I can’t wait to see what they look like!). You are also welcome to use them on your blog, just please link back to my blog. If you wish to download them to use in a product to sell, please contact me.

Did you enter the giveaway at the St. Patrick’s Day Tea Party Play Date post? There are still a couple of days left to enter to win the entire collection of CCC of America’s Saint’s and Heroes animated films


  1. Katie Paladino

    Such great recommendations! We love Irish music in our family:) Black velvet band is one of my faves! I danced with my dad to Daughter of Mine at my wedding so I really love that one too:) But our family favorite is Rattlin' Bog! My 3 year old loves it! And possibly could connect it to a science lesson;)

  2. Layla

    I love this so much. My husband's college roommate turned him on to Irish music, and it's definitely become part of our family culture. The four-year-old does a particularly stirring Rising of the Moon.

  3. Madeline

    Major fan of Waxie's Dargle but that is straight from Dublin's literary pub crawl which was required for my study abroad. And of which the takeaway was the song Waxie's Dargle and nothing literary at all.

  4. Olivia Batista

    Thank You for share those songs! I'm portuguese, I have no conections with Ireland, but the Irish music make me dream…
    kisses from Portugal!!!

  5. Rosa Patterson

    Ha! Our last name being Patterson, we've adopted St. Patrick as our family patron saint, and my husband is pretty darn Irish, and obsessed with pretty much all folk music. He definitely turned our three year old on to Irish tunes. Of course he loves "whiskey in the jar" and one of my faves is "lambs on the green hill" by the chieftains And emmylou harris. We will def be jamming sans whiskey come the 17th!

  6. Athena Carson

    I'm afraid they block Spotify at work (booo! IT caught on to me!!) … ahem –

    Couple of people in that genre I really like are –

    1. Seamus Kennedy – I was fortunate enough to see him LIVE(!!!) at St. Patrick's Church in Anchorage, AK a few years ago – and the best part was they had a full bar, tended by the Knights of Columbus. The fact that he sings "Gaudete" accapella on his Christmas album means I love him.

    2. Old Blind Dogs – I think they're technically Scottish, but they still have some great songs in a similar style – Barnyards O' Delgaty is a favorite.

    3. Vanessa Mae – Not her usual style but there's a random song – I'm A-Doun For Lack O'Johnny which I can't get enough of.

    4. Celtic Woman – Technically a New Age style mostly, but their Irish songs are nice. They have a great violin piece called The Ashoken Farewell / The Contradiction.

    Apologies if any of these are already on your list / not what you were looking for. I just opened up my Google playlist of Celtic music and threw some things out there – they haven't blocked Google Play yet!

    • Athena Carson

      Oops – forgot –

      My Seamus Kennedy recommendations are: The Old Dun Cow, My Love is Like a Red Red Rose, The Beer Song, and Kilkelly (very sad song but fantastic piece of history)

    • Kendra

      These are great! I added a couple of them to the playlist. Thanks!

  7. Christie R

    Kendra, you rock my world. That title! Also, tinyprints pillows are a fantastic idea!

  8. Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas

    Daniel's a big fan of Irish folks, too, and the kids are constantly singing "you're spunkier than tea!" and I love it/hope they don't sing it when they visit their grandparents.

  9. Jessica

    Fun fact: The Irish Rovers opened a pub in my city (Calgary) called "The Unicorn" after the song, and it is still frequently played there to this day.
    We have a 5 year old Patrick, and I like the idea of celebrating a saints-name day like a birthday for our 3, so we are doubly excited to implement some of your fun ideas this year! I'm all like "Playlist? Boom! Taken care of!"
    Thank you!

  10. Stephanie Feely

    My family has a big party on St. Patrick's day and my mom blares Irish music that day. I love it and have so many good memories with it. Funny story – one of my sisters and I grew up having no idea what the black velvet band was really about. Apparently we never actually listened to the lyrics because we thought it was a nice love song about a girl with lovely eyes.

  11. Nanacamille

    I have witnessed the three older boys do classic song renditions of Irish drinking and shooting songs at the party. Frankie should be up for a good one this year. He is pretty funny in all he does.

  12. Anonymous

    I hope you listen to Gaelic Storm! They have a fantastic version of "Courtin' in the Kitchen"…also, check out "Kevin Kelly's Wellies", "Johnny Tarr", "Born to be a Bachelor"…also, wonderfully family friendly, great Irish music, and all around great Catholic guys, i highly recommend some college friends' band Scythian (

    this has been the theme of all our Murphy children's baptisms, though…
    “The old Irish when immersing a babe at baptism left out the right arm so that it would remain pagan for good fighting."

    • Kendra

      I'll check those out, thanks. And . . . you win the comments. LOVE that.

    • Caron

      Gaelic Storm have a few songs in the Irish, too. They're great craic.

  13. Bridget

    Always remember Chesterton's great line when thinking about the Irish and our songs: "For the great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad / For all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad." Pretty much sums it up, right? Great songs and great craic.

  14. k

    Love the Irish and their folk music! I think your football graphic needs to be a soccer player, though.

    • Kendra

      He's actually a rugby player, which is as close as I could find to Gaelic football, which is kind of a cross between soccer and rugby and would be what the song is referencing. It's a throughly researched pillow. 🙂

    • k

      Very impressive!! 🙂 I love a well researched pillow!

  15. Brigid Hogan

    Kendra, just saw the playlist updates and am so glad that you chose that particular version of The Parting Glass! I was listening to it all last week – it is my favorite version (from my favorite movie).

    • Kendra

      I just watched it last night! And HAD to add that song. It's a great version.

  16. Conceiving Hope

    We have a lot of Irish folk musicians in our family, so this post made us smile because these songs are a regular part of our social life. We love seeing anyone enjoying it and sharing it. Dia Duit and Go Raibh Maith Agat from Dublin! 🙂

  17. Beth Roznowski

    Yay Irish music (I'm a fiddle player…). If you guys ever have a chance, go see the band FullSet. They are awesome.. we saw them live two years ago (just started touring in the states. Such a great live band. They


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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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