Irish traditional music has a rich variety of songs, most of them are sung in Irish , others in English or in both languages.
The songs in the Irish language, known as "sean-nòs" or old style, include lay and lyric songs, love songs, the aisling and Jacobite songs.
The songs in the English languages historically are ballads and their subjects are all aspects of culture and the human condition: love, war, hope, nostalgia, famine, emigration, social conditions and local events. Their forms include lament, exhortation, humour, satire and journalistic rigour, but all of them have a style of singing based in and shared with the Irish-language performance style.
The Mayo poet Riocard Bairead (1740-1819) wrote a mock lament about a bailiff Eoghan Coir that is still sung and represents a good example of satire. The songs in mixed language are basically macaronic (in both Irish and English) and "hedge-schoolmaster" (in Hiberno-English).
Mayo is the inspiration for many songs, some of which are listed here. This is a collection made from suggestions on our Facebook page, if you know of any more then let us know the song and singer!
Admiral William Browne - The Wolfe Tones All the way Home to Mayo - Doc Carroll
Banks of the Moy - Seamus O'Duffy
Men of the West-William Rooney
Clare Island - Saw Doctors
Clare Morris - John Duggan
Farewell Mayo - Eamon Friel
Fields of Erris - Michael Togher
Green and Red of Mayo - The Saw Doctors
Homeplace in Mayo - Phil Mack
Kilkelly Ireland - Sean Keane
The Knock Song - Christy Moore
Lovely Achill Island - James Kilbane
Lovely Westport - Lennie Grimes
Memories of Mayo - John Kelly
My Old Home In Mayo - Mick Flavin
Take Me Back to Castlebar - Michael Bracken
Take Me Home To Mayo (The Ballad of Michael Gaughan) - Mick Flavin
The County of Mayo - Mick Flavin
The Grand Old River Moy - John Kelly
The Lassies from Belmullet - John Kelly
The Mayo Rover - Seamus Moore
The Winding Road to Kiltimagh - Brendan Shine
Gunnar Stahl enjoyed his stay in Tooreen so much that he wrote a song. We haven't head it sung but you can check it out on the Tooreen website.
John Kelly - The Man from Knock - sings a number of these songs on his CDs.