“May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.”
Traditional Irish Blessing
One of the most popular Irish songs played at funerals is “Danny Boy.” What you may not realize, however, is that song is actually titled “Londonderry Air” and their are other lyrics to it, many of which are also popular at funerals. For example, the lyrics titled “Above the Hills of Time the Cross is Gleaming” was played at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral while “I Would Be True” was played at Princess Diana’s funeral.
During this time, family, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances visit the house to pay their respects. Children do not usually attend a wake. Men will often visit the wake house at night, and then sit with the body during the night. Most people will attend the wake somewhere between 5pm and 8pm. We have selected quite a few Irish songs and listed them below that can be played during an Irish wake or during the funeral.
There are two ways that you can add Irish music to a funeral or memorial service. The first is to choose traditional Irish songs for your wedding. The second is to play traditional songs, but have them played on Irish instruments or sung by an Irish singer. We will discuss both of these options below.
Quite a few Irish songs that are appropriate for a funeral are available and listed below. We searched high and low for authentic Irish and celtic songs before listing them. A word of warning when choosing Irish songs for a Catholic funeral, not all songs listed will be allowed in a Catholic ceremony. Catholic churches have rules about using secular music. We have labeled a few songs that would be appropriate, but you should check with your local diocese before selecting any music. A good example of this is the song “Danny Boy.”
Although some might consider this cheating, using Irish instruments can be a way to include non-Irish music while keeping with the theme. Bagpipes, more specifically uilleann pipes, are often used at Irish weddings. The uilleann pipes bag is inflated by means of a small set of bellows strapped around the waist and the right arm. The celtic harp is also a favorite for weddings. Other Irish instruments include the fiddle, the Accordion, the flute, the banjo and the guitar.
When looking for Irish musicians, you have a wide range to choose from such as The Irish Tenors, High Kings, Aine Minogue, the Chieftans, Clannah, Celtic Women, or Aine Minogue. Of course, we can not forget modern singers such as Enya, Dolores O’Riordan (from the Cranberries), and Sinead O’Connor. Of course, if you are looking for live music, you can find singers that specialize in Irish music in most larger cities.
Some of the best Irish songs for funerals are listed below. For your convenience, we have compiled the songs in a playlist, making it easy for you to listen to a sample or purchase a song. A detailed list of the songs is provided below the playlist.