Download a PDF map of Ireland including our rock ‘n’ roll landmarks here.
1. U2: County Dublin
The Beatles had Abbey Road – U2 have Windmill Lane. Right beside the super-cool Grand Canal Square, this recording mecca produced numerous U2 albums and once welcomed The Rolling Stones. U2 are clearly Dublin fans: they shot the videos for Pride and Sweetest Thing here. The latter sees Bono riding a carriage around Fitzwilliam Square.
Each band member has a home in Dublin. Bono and The Edge are Killiney neighbours, you'll find bassist Adam in the suburb of Rathfarnham while Larry Mullen lives in Howth. Outside the capital the iconic group have staged three epic rock concerts at Slane Castle in Meath: built in 1701 and rocking hard since 1981.
2. Sinéad O’Connor: Glenageary, County Dublin
Sinéad O’Connor is a true rocker. Born in Glenageary, a South County Dublin suburb, the Nothing Compares 2 U singer is known for her ethereal voice, traditional duets and captivating stage presence.
3. Thin Lizzy: Dublin city
No one rocked harder than Thin Lizzy: studded leather, tight pants and awesome tunes cemented their status as Dublin hometown heroes. Statues of the late frontman Phil Lynott stand on Harry Street, off Grafton Street, and in the National Wax Museum.
4. Bob Geldof: Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Rebel with a cause? Bob Geldof was born in Dun Laoghaire, a seaside town in Dublin, was schooled in Blackrock College, sang in the Boomtown Rats and became an unlikely but highly effective political activist. His charitable super-concert Live Aid in 1985 reached two billion people. Rock on, Sir Bob.
5. Imelda May: The Liberties, Dublin city
Hail to the Queen of The Liberties! There is more to Dublin-born Imelda May than 1950s dresses, bright red lipstick and that unmistakable blonde quiff – she is one of our most unique vocal talents. Whoever said rockabilly was dead?
6. Hozier: Bray, County Wicklow
Hozier might be a new voice on the music scene but his retro sound has already stolen our hearts as he tours the globe. Born in Bray, County Wicklow, the son of a musician and raised on a diet of blues music, his hit song Take Me To Church and its viral video continue to impress.
7. Niall Horan: Mullingar, County Westmeath
Yes, we know, Niall Horan is about as rock and roll as a bubble bath. BUT credit where due: the blonde Mullingar native conquered the globe with One Direction and is more popular than Mick Jagger – on Twitter at least.
Find out where the band who recorded the Greatest Rock Song Ever grew up…
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8. Snow Patrol: Belfast, County Antrim; County Londonderry; County Down
Snow Patrol can write a hit. These indie-rockers have been blasting stadiums with chest-pounding anthems like Chasing Cars for over a decade and have sold millions of albums. Singer Gary Lightbody calls Belfast his home and his muse – it must be working – while bandmate Johnny McDaid (Courtney Cox’s fiancée, gossip lovers) lives in Derry~Londonderry.
9. Van Morrison: Belfast, County Antrim
Van ‘the man’ Morrison is a true rock legend. Born in Belfast, the gravel-voiced crooner has won a bazillion awards and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Respect.
10. The Undertones: Derry~Londonderry city
Greatest rock song ever? Teenage Kicks might be it. Recorded by Derry~Londonderry punks The Undertones, the song is two minutes and 25 seconds of glorious teen angst. Teenage dreams, so hard to beat.
11. Enya: Gweedore, County Donegal
With 75 million albums sold, Donegal-born Enya is our greatest solo musical exports. But when she's back home in Leo’s Tavern, she’s just part of the family. OK, she writes experimental ethnic songs and not rock music, but her genre-bending approach to music takes guts – and that rocks. Home away from Donegal is a turreted castle overlooking Killiney Bay in County Dublin.
12. The Cranberries: Ballybricken, County Limerick
The Cranberries are less sweet than their name suggests. This Limerick rock band ruled the 1990s with snarling Celtic-tinged songs like Zombie and sold 40 million albums. Singer Dolores recently celebrated Limerick becoming Ireland’s first-ever City of Culture.
13. Rory Gallagher: Counties Donegal and Cork
Well did you ever? Bluesman Rory Gallagher is indeed one of our most legendary rockers and was renowned for his blistering live shows. Born in Ballyshannon in County Donegal and raised in Cork, Gallagher inspired other guitar legends like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Slash.
From rock to traditional music this island loves to make noise.
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