What is St. Patrick’s Day all about? Is it a holiday to celebrate Irish heritage and culture? Sure, there are plenty of parades to honor the Irish around the middle of March every year. Although this reason for celebrating may be lost a little bit to the printed t-shirts declaring “Everyone’s Irish on March 17th.” So, is St. Paddy’s about drinking? Well, sure, for a lot of people, St. Patrick’s Day is about getting obscenely, uproariously drunk and having a good time. So long as no one gets into a fight, is arrested, or vomits green. (Although maybe that’s how you define a good time.) Or maybe St. Pat’s is about the color green since there are social—and physical—ramifications if you’re caught without any shamrock-colored clothing on this day.
For me, though, what it comes down to is the music. I have a lot of great St. Paddy’s Day memories and the one thing that ties them all together (other than the holiday itself of course) is the music I listen to every year around this time. With the opening drumbeat and banjo chords of “Drunken Lullabies” by Flogging Molly, I remember wearing my light up shamrock glasses to work last year (which are still one of my coolest possessions, hands down.) Most of my St. Pat’s playlist is Celtic punk music because how can you get through a single St. Patrick’s Day without hearing some Dropkick Murphys? More importantly, why would you want to? So in honor of St. Patrick, here are some of my favorite songs to listen to—and sing along drunkenly to—on this holiday.
“Beer” – Reel Big Fish
Let’s start this little playlist off with a primer: “Beer” isn’t exclusively a St. Paddy’s Day song. It’s really just a drinking song in general, but it’s a great song to play while getting amped up to go out. The chorus is fun to sing along to—loudly if you’ve already had a few shower beers—and it’s an upbeat song that’s great for dancing. “Beer” is a great song to start the night. [Side note: Reel Big Fish’s “Drunk Again” is a great song for when you’ve gone home and the night is over. Especially if you’re one of those people (like me) who likes to sing loudly and obnoxiously to whatever they’re listening to.]
“I’m Shipping Up To Boston” – Dropkick Murphys
If you’re able to get through any St. Patrick’s Day without listening to the entirety this song or catching snippets of it out of car windows and open pub doors, then you are very skilled at avoiding Dropkick Murphys. Even if you happen to be watching The Departed, you’ll hear a portion of this song. “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” is the epitome of St. Paddy’s Day, which is okay because it’s a great song. Get a couple drinks in you and you’ll be stomping away to the drums with the rest of us and yelling:
“I’m a sailor peg, and I’ve lost my leg, climbing up the top sails, I lost my leg!”
“Irish Drinking Song” – Buck-O-Nine
How could you not listen to a tune called “Irish Drinking Song” on St. Patrick’s Day? Although you might think this is another Celtic punk song, it’s actually a fast-paced ska song. It still talks about pubs and drunken fistfights though, so the subject of the song is totally relevant to any Irish holiday. Plus, with a chorus like this one, how could you not listen to it on St. Pat’s?
“We’ll drink and drink and drink and drink and drink and drink and fight!”
“Fuck You I’m Drunk” – Bondo
This song goes hand-in-hand with the last one on my playlist, but it’s a lot slower. “Fuck You I’m Drunk” is the more intoxicated and belligerent friend of Buck-O-Nine’s “Irish Drinking Song.” This of course makes it so much more fun to listen to while drinking on St. Patrick’s Day. Especially after you’ve had more than a couple drinks and the chorus is actually true:
“Fuck you I’m drunk, fuck you I’m drunk, and I’m going to be drunk until the next time I’m drunk.”
“Drunken Lullabies” – Flogging Molly
Okay, we’ve gotten amped, we’ve gone out, we’ve had a few too many drinks, and now we’re rallying. It’s time to get that second lung. Flogging Molly is another Celtic punk band on this playlist, which makes “Drunken Lullabies” a great song for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s fun and fast and still fantastic even when you’re too drunk to remember the words. This is another one of those songs that you can put on during a St. Paddy’s party and everyone will get up and start dancing or singing along.
“Kiss Me I’m #!@’faced” – Dropkick Murphys
I’m very tempted to just say, “What else did you expect?” and leave it at that. It’s the end of the night, everyone’s going home, and if you haven’t sung “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced” with your arms slung around your friends, you’re not doing St. Paddy’s Day right. (Okay, not really, you can celebrate St. Pat’s however you want. But I seriously recommend this.) The song lyrics are all about a guy telling flat out lies to make himself seem fantastic and get someone to kiss him. Whether you can relate to the lyrics or find the song hilarious, it’s fun to sing along to especially with a room full of friends.
“I’m a man of the night, a real ladies delight. See my figure was chiseled from stone. One more for the gal then I’ll escort her home. Come last call, I’m never alone.”
In all seriousness, I listen to my St. Patrick’s Day playlist year round because it’s that good. The holiday is just an excuse to refresh and maybe add some new songs. One day, I’d like to go see Dropkick Murphys play their annual St. Pat’s show in Boston, but for now, I’ll have to settle for listening to them and everyone else on this list to get in the holiday spirit. I had to cut out a lot of good songs from this playlist, so if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!