Ireland’s Finest Bands – Some of our Favourite Gems from the Emerald Isle

Irish Sheet Music | Musicnotes.comIn honour of St. Patrick’s Day on 17th March, we decided to take a look at the wealth of rich and varied artists Ireland has given us over the years.

With a musical heritage that encompasses folk, pop, rock, blues, soul and punk, the Emerald Isle has launched many significant musicians. Here’s a selection of some our favourite bands and performers:

The Chieftains

Grammy Award-winning group The Chieftains were formed in Dublin in 1962 after they met up to record an instrumental folk album. At the time, this was a rare and groundbreaking approach to traditional Irish music as their peers were largely vocal folk acts. Their popularity grew throughout the 1960s and they played their first US tour in 1972. After receiving an Oscar for their contribution to the soundtrack for the 1975 Kubrick film BARRY LYNDON, their fame around the globe grew. In 1983, they were invited to visit China and became the first group to play on the Great Wall. They collaborated with Van Morrison in 1986 on the album “Irish Heartbeat,” which was well-received by critics and went on to receive a Grammy Award nomination (one of their 18 nominations for this award).

Their best-selling album “The Long Black Veil” featured another successful collaboration with Van Morrison who provided the vocals on the track Have I Told You Lately, which won a Grammy Award in 1996. This album also featured performances from Sting, The Rolling Stones and Sinead O’ Connor. In 2002, The Chieftains won the BBC 2 Folk Award for Lifetime Achievement for their contributions to folk music; they continue to tour and record today.

View our selection of The Chieftains sheet music and guitar tab on

Rory Gallagher

According to the Rory Gallagher official website, this Irish rock and blues maestro was inspired by a TV appearance of Elvis to pick up a guitar and become a musician at a young age. After playing with various bands in Ireland throughout the early 1960s, he formed the group Taste in 1967 and found success at the Marquee Club, where they came to the attention and admiration of John Lennon, amongst others. Taste split in 1970 and Rory went on to a hugely successful solo career. He played with several of his musical heroes including The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Jerry Lee Lewis and Albert King. Rory toured and recorded extensively up until the mid-1990s when he became seriously ill whilst on tour in Holland. Sadly, he passed away due to complications following an organ transplant in 1995 at aged just 47.

A talented multi-instrumentalist and enormously influential artist (it is reported that he inspired Brian May of Queen to create his unique sound), his albums have sold over 30,000,000 copies worldwide. He was most renowned for his epic live performances and in honour of this there is an international tribute festival held in his birth town, Ballyshannon, every year. You can visit the official festival website for more information.

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Van Morrison

A musician from a young age, Van Morrison formed the group Them in 1963. They had several hits; their rendition of Baby Please Don’t Go marked their breakthrough into the U.K. top ten. Van Morrison left the band in 1966 to embark on a solo career. The following year he released his most enduring hit Brown Eyed Girl, which remains a classic today. has arrangements of this title available for Piano, Vocal, Guitar, Guitar Tab, Bass Tab and Bb Instrument Solo.

In 1968, Van Morrison released what many consider to be his greatest work to date, the album “Astral Weeks” and followed this with a string of successful albums, amongst them “Moondance” and “Tupelo Honey.” In addition to his substantial repertoire of recorded work, Morrison is renowned for his live performances, which have been described as “transcendental.” His musical style encompasses many genres and is virtually impossible to define as he is such an innovator. However, Morrison defines himself as a soul singer.

Browse our collection of Van Morrison sheet music and guitar tab on


U2 was formed by four schoolmates in Dublin in 1976. Their musical style has evolved over the years, starting out with post-punk influences, moving into rock and more recently into dance-tinged pop/rock. Arguably one of the biggest bands in the world, U2 have a hugely successful music career coupled with a strong association with campaigning and fund-raising. They have produced 12 studio albums and won an impressive 22 Grammy Awards. In 2005, they were admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; their most recent album “No Line On The Horizon” was released in early 2009.

We have an extensive range of U2’s back-catalogue available at, including sheet music for their recent album. Visit to find U2 sheet music and guitar tab.

The Corrs

Musical siblings, The Corrs, formed their Celtic pop and rock group in the early 1990s in Dundalk, Ireland. After a performance at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., they were given a support slot on Celine’s Dion’s tour that broke them into the mainstream and paved the way for the success of their first album “Forgiven, Not Forgotten.”

As well as being successful musicians, The Corrs are renowned for their charity work and in 2005 they were made honorary Members of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of their philanthropic activities. The Corrs are currently on hiatus while two of the band members raise their family.

You can download all available guitar tab and sheet music for The Corrs on


Boyzone was formed in 1993 by music manager Louis Walsh who reportedly wanted to create the Irish Take That. After holding open auditions in Dublin, the 300 applicants, one of which included the actor Colin Farrell, were eventually whittled down to 5. Their breakthrough came in 1995 with the release of the cover of the Osmond’s classic Love Me For A Reason, which reached No. 2 in the UK charts.

Their second album, 1997’s “A Different Beat,” secured their reputation as successor’s to Take That‘s crown, giving them two number one singles and going triple platinum in the UK. After disbanding in 2000 to pursue solo careers, the boys reunited in 2008, released a compilation album and have been touring. They are due to release an album of new material this year; the album will be dedicated to the memory of former band-mate Stephen Gately who sadly passed away in October last year.

Browse our catalog of Boyzone sheet music on

Who is your favourite Irish band or performer? Remember, if you can’t find the sheet music to your favourite Irish artist on our site you can use our song suggestion tool to let us know.

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  1. Carolyn

    Enjoyed reading about these performers but was somewhat surprised not to see John McDermott and the Irish Tenors among the Emerald Isle jewels.

  2. William

    Rather you sent me alto sax sheet music please

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