As St. Patrick’s Day arrives, many prefer to hit the slopes rather than the local pub. Or at least get some skiing and boarding in before they too throw some back at the lodge. You can start the celebration early by adding a healthy dose of hard-driving Irish songs to your run. Here’s 10 of the most shamrock n’ roll beats to get the most authentically Irish ski trip that’s ever been.
Young Dubliners, Waxies Dargle
This track wastes no time in launching into a heart-thumping Irish dance rhythm, complete with pipes, electric guitar, and a solid beat. Keep posted for the frantic violin solo in this song halfway though, which rivals the most face-melting guitar solos. “Waxies Dargle” is originally a popular Irish pub song that dates back to the 19th century, and the Young Dubliners excel at adapting such classics to the modern era. The only fallback is that the band continually yelling “Have a pint,” may prove too convincing, forcing you to make a early stop at the lodge’s bar.
The Pogues, If I Should Fall from Grace with God
No St. Patrick’s Day playlist would be complete without an entry from the iconic Irish punk band, whose lead singer Shane MacGowan has outpartied even the most extreme rock stars. You’re not likely to pick out many of MacGowan’s gruff lyrics, but somehow you get the sense of what he’s trying to say. I’m particularly fond of his guttural scream about a minute into this song, followed by a lively instrumental session. Few songs exemplify a riotous Irish party as well as this classic, and if anything can get you stoked enough to take on a black diamond, it’s this gem.
Dropkick Murphys, The Warrior’s Code
This band has become synonymous with American Irish punk, and their “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” has been played relentlessly on TV and movies. “The Warrior’s Code” continues the band’s tradition of hard-hitting, bagpipe-backed punk rock headlines with growling lyrics. It’s technically about boxing, but it should an add extra punch to your skiing run just the same. It’s hard not to completely shred the mountain when you’ve gotten the lyrics “You’re the fighter, you’ve got the fire, The spirit of a warrior, the champion’s heart” blaring in your ear.
Flogging Molly, Salty Dog
This Celtic pirate song is bound to stir the rebellious spirit in snowboarders, and maybe even a skiier or two. The LA-based Flogging Molly shares a similar but slightly more light-hearted sound than Dropkick Murphy’s. “Salty Dog” is one of their most boisterous and defiant songs, sure to be a good accompaniment to some risky times on the mountain. Be warned, just listening to this buccaneer ballad may make give you the uncontrollable urge to work the word “Arrr” into your speech that day.
Steve Earle, Johnny Come Lately
It may be sung by an American about the Battle of Britain, but this song comes off about as Irish as it gets. It helps that this was tune is being backed by the Pogues, who lend some of their distinctive Irish folk signature to Earle’s inspiring lyrics. “Johnny Come Lately” has a sobering message to take in later, but for your purposes it offers a light-hearted soundtrack to propel you down the mountain, and a fine drinking song for any celebration that follows.
The Tossers, The Irish Rover
This band from Chicago shares a similar sound with Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphy’s, who they’ve toured with, although the Tossers predates both of them. This raucous song defies you to sit still, daring you to race down the slopes as fast as you can. Tuning into the lyrics can also be dangerously inspiring. “I’m a Rover drunk or sober, I go trampling this world over,” this singer declares, capturing the restless spirit of many wild skiers and snowboarders.
Mahones, Drunken Lazy Bastard
A typical Irish song declaring the destructive yet addictive times resulting from a night of hard drinking, this ballad’s steady beat and jaunty tune is likely to make you want to step dance as much as ski. The band’s founder hails from Ireland, although he now lives in Canada. Years after rocking their first St. Paddy’s party, the band is finally gaining recognition, being recently hailed by Sirius as the best indie punk band.
Blaggards, Big Strong Man
Led by a native of Dublin and heavily influenced by metal bands, this Houston band is the pride of the Irish populace in Texas’s largest metropolis. “Big Strong Man” is an old tune that was popular among WWII Canadian soldiers and describes a man named Sylveste who accomplishes incredible feats. Looks like the Irish were ahead of the times, considering most modern rap songs are just extended brag sheets. This boastful tune is the perfect choice for the skier and snowboarder who also thinks themselves capable of anything.
Fiddler’s Green, The Night Pat Murphy Died
This band is German but nevertheless plays Irish folk as well as any native of the Emerald Isle. Here they take on an old classic song that references Murphy’s friends attending his Irish wake. If you think a song about a death will be a morbid affair, you don’t know how the Irish give each other a sendoff. Listening to this devilish tune describing the celebration at Pat’s memorial will not only drive you down the snowy trails, it’ll cause you to seriously consider adding an open bar to your own funeral.
Waterboys, Raggle Taggle Gypsy
This band is better known for “Fisherman’s Blues” and “The Whole of the Moon,” but this song has a lot more kick to get your blood pumping while careening down the hill. The song concerns a woman who runs off the join the gypsies, but its real power is more in its toe-tapping rhythm than its lyrics. Besides, this song kinda cheats with the rhymes by adding the letter “O” to every other line. Nevertheless, it’s a distinctly Celtic song that will inspire you to try something out of the ordinary.
If you’re a veteran of the mountain, these tunes should provide an appropriate soundtrack to tearing up some powder. If you’re a beginner, you may struggle with your balance as much as your buddies celebrating St. Paddy’s the traditional way do, but these classics should give you the motivation to keep the party going. After all, if any one understands what it’s like to fall down and keep getting up again, it’s the Irish.