Irish rock band from Dublin, U2, consisting of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr., formed in 1976. The band recorded 14 studio albums, including The Joshua Tree, Rattle and Hum, and Achtung Baby. The Joshua Tree was the album that launched them internationally, giving the band their two No. 1 singles in the U.S., “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
2. Gilbert O’Sullivan
The Irish singer-songwriter found success in the 1970s with songs, including “Nothing Rhymed,” “Alone Again (Naturally)”, “Clair”, and “Get Down.” He has recorded 19 studio albums and received Songwriter of the Year in 1973 at the Ivor Novello Awards. O’Sullivan released his 19th studio album, Gilbert O’Sullivan, in 2018.
3. Sinead O’Connor
Born in Glenageary, County Dublin, Sinead O’Connor saw her career skyrocket in 1990. Her biggest success came from her sophomore album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, with the release of its lead single “Nothing Compares 2U,” written by Prince.
4. Van Morrison
Northern Irish singer-songwriter Morrison began his career as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B and rock band Them. After the band broke up, Morrison ventured out on the solo career where he broke out with what is called his signature hit in 1967, “Brown Eyed Girl,” off his debut album, Blowin’ Your Mind!
5. The Cranberries
Irish-born singer/songwriter Delores O’Riordan led the Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries, formed in Limerick, Ireland. O’Riordan replaced founder Niall Quinn in 1990. With the Cranberries, O’Riordan sold more than 40 million albums worldwide during her lifetime. The band found success in the 1990s starting off with their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? The Cranberries’ hit songs included “Dreams” “Linger,” “Zombie,” and “Salvation.” O’Riordan passed away in 2018 from accidental drowning due to alcohol intoxication.
6. Niall Horan
Irish singer-songwriter Niall Horan began his career as a member of the uber-popular boy band One Direction, which was formed in 2010. Together, One Direction released five studio albums, including their debut album Up All Night and Take Me Home. After the band took a hiatus, Horan went out on his own, releasing two studio albums, Flicker in 2017 and Heartbreak Weather in 2020. His solo hits include “Slow Hands” and “This Town.”
7. Ronan Keating
Irish pop singer Ronan Keating, born in Dublin, got his first solo hit when he released the Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz penned song “When You Say Nothing At All,” previously recorded by country singer Keith Whitley and later by Alison Krauss. Keating’s version was featured in the Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant film, Notting Hill. Prior to his solo career, Keating shared co-lead singing duties with Stephen Gately as part of the Irish group Boyzone. Throughout his career, he sold 20 million albums as a solo artist and 25 million with Boyzone.
The best-selling Irish solo artist in history, Enya pioneered modern Celtic and New-age music. Beginning her career in a family band in 1980, the Irish-born singer went out on her own in 1982, releasing eight studio albums, including Enya, Watermark, and Shepherd Moons. Her signature hit “Only Time,” reached No. 10 on the U.S. charts. Enya found success in the 1990s and 2000s, performing in 10 languages.
Irish musician, singer-songwriter Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, known professionally as Hozier, shot to fame after releasing his debut single “Take Me to Church.” His debut album was certified 6× platinum in Ireland. He followed that up with the single “Nina Cried Power” from his EP of the same name and a second full-length album, Wasteland Baby!
10. The Dubliners
The Dubliners, an Irish folk band founded in Dublin in 1962, have seen many members over their 50 plus year career. Featured on the folk scene in both Dublin and London in the early 1960s, the band released over 17 studio albums and 13 live albums. Led by the vocals of original lead singers, Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew, the band was influential in popularising Irish folk music in Europe and beyond.
U2 Photo: Sam Jones