5 Great Albums for Sharing Irish Music for Kids

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Traditional Songs from Ireland

If you're looking to share the joy of Irish music with your kids, there are some fantastic albums to explore. Among the best Irish albums, you will find traditional tunes, story songs, dances, and sing-alongs performed in both English and Irish.

These will be fun to share on St. Patrick's Day or anytime you want to introduce the little ones to the world of Irish music.

Various Artists - 'When I Was Young: Children's Songs from Ireland'

Courtesy Shanachie Entertainment

Don't let the album title fool you. These songs are not childish at all but are definitely superb sing-along tunes, fascinating folk story songs, and danceable jigs.

Boasting an impressive 28 traditional Irish songs, all sung in English, "When I Was Young" features the vocals of Len Graham and Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin. Producer Garry Ó Briain provides much of the music, along with Martin O'Conner's accordion, Nollaig Casey's fiddle, Ronan Browne's uilleann pipes, and Tommy Hayes' bodhrán.

If you want to go deeper into the culture of Irish children's songs, check out Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin and Garry Ó Briain's "A Stór 's A Stóirín," featuring Irish language kids' tunes.

Released February 16, 1999; Shanachie

The Clancy Children - 'So Early in the Morning'

Courtesy Tradition Records/Rykodisc

Recorded in the late 50s and early 60s, this album contains an amazing 46 tracks of Irish songs, chants, and singing games.

The CD features not only the children of the Robert Clancy family of County Tipperary but different generations of the same clan. It also has Seamus Ennis on uillean pipes and penny whistle.

Most of the tunes are sung a cappella, and some are very short snippets of songs, but you get an idea of the spirit of traditional Irish folk music for kids. The album includes favorites like "Dance to Your Daddy," "Tom, Tom," and a spirited version of "The Rattlin' Bog," as well as regional songs like "Are You Ready for a War?"

Originally released 1961, Tradition Records; Rereleased July 22, 1997, Rykodisc

Caera - 'Traditional Irish Gaelic Children's Songs'

Courtesy Grá is Stór

Caera is a Massachusetts-based performer with deep Gaelic roots. She's recorded several albums of Celtic music, including this a cappella collection of traditional Irish songs for children.

The 11-song CD comes with a book that includes lyrics and translations, a pronunciation guide, and sheet music for each song. This hauntingly quiet and beautiful CD/book combo is a great resource for exploring Ireland's native language with your children.

There is also a digital download available, but the interactive book makes the music much more enjoyable for kids.

Released June 20, 2006; Grá is Stór

Dan Milner - 'Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea'

Courtesy Smithsonian Folkways

How cool is this? Thirteen maritime songs about pirates, smugglers, and hard-living sailors from Ireland.

Let's put it this way...if your little ones like Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" or James Fenimore Cooper's "The Red Rover," they'll love "Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea." It's an aural version of the stories and characters found in those classic novels.

Vocalist Dan Milner is joined by an all-star list of musicians too numerous to mention. The CD comes with extensive liner notes about the story behind each song.

Released February 10, 2009; Smithsonian Folkways

Golden Bough - 'Kids at Heart: Celtic Songs for Children'

Courtesy Golden Bough

Golden Bough is an Oregon-based band who specialize in Celtic music. "Kids at Heart" is their English-language collection of Irish folk songs.

The album contains traditional favorites like "The Rattlin' Bog" and "The Tailor and the Mouse," and Bill Staines' classic "All God's Creatures," along with a couple of band originals. Margie Butler, Paul Espinoza, and Kathy Sierra all contribute vocals and accompany their singing with fiddles, mandolins, and harps.

Released June 26, 2001; Golden Bough