9 Festive Songs for St. Patrick’s Day


St. Patrick’s Day is named in honor of the patron saint of Ireland (Eire). March 17th is Ireland’s national holiday to celebrate Irish heritage and culture but the day is observed now throughout the world. Good food, good drink, and wearing of the green everywhere signal a happy day as people wish each other good cheer.

In Gaelic the word used to signal this is Sláinte (slawn-cha), meaning a wish for good health. Did you know that in 1737 the very first St. Patrick’s Day in the United States was held in Boston, Massachusetts?

No celebration of the day would be complete without the familiar Irish songs that tell stories of the land and its people. Here are nine you will definitely hear on March 17th if you go to a parade, join a chorus in a pub, or just sing along at home with the radio, which is sure to be playing some of this irresistible music. A link to YouTube is given for each song if you want to add your own voice(s) into the singing there!

1. McNamara’s Band

This is a popular, uplifting song that was made famous by Bing Crosby, and along with “Danny Boy” and “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” it is probably sung on St. Patrick’s Day more than any other. Shamus O’Connor and John J. Stamford wrote the music in 1945, and the lyrics were created by a group called The Three Jesters. The story the song tells is about the “life” of a real Irish band, the St Mary’s Fife and Drum, which began in 1885 in the county of Limerick.