Traditional Irish music is perhaps one of the most beautiful types of music out there, and there are plenty of fantastic examples of female Irish singers vocal whose acumen rises above and beyond that of others.
Still, Irish music is constantly changing. While you can find plenty of classic Irish music with deep Celtic roots, the catalog is expanding to include new variations like pop or even hip-hop. What’s exceptional about the female Irish singers on our list is their ability to transcend genres and shape the course of Irish music to fit their own talents and style.
Additionally, most of our top female Irish singers are also accomplished musicians, which gives them an even greater appreciation for different genres and styles.
Related: Check out our list of the most famous Irish singers here.
Enya is one of the original founders of what we think of as modern Irish music. She specializes in weaving New Age music and original Celtic sounds together in hypnotizing ballads.
Enya’s popularity transcends different genres, and even people unfamiliar with Celtic music will find her sound intoxicating.
Hailing from Donegal, Enya is about as Irish as they come, and her family has a long legacy of making beautiful music. Although she once sang with Clannad, she’s since struck out on her own as a soloist to great success.
Not only has Enya been successful in terms of records, but her work has also hit the small screen too. You can find Enya songs on television shows like The Celts.
2. Sinead O’Connor
Sinead O’Connor is another Irish powerhouse who rose to fame during and despite a controversial Saturday Night Live appearance where she ripped up a picture of the Pope. The Dublin native skyrocketed to fame with her dreamy and wonderful ballad Nothing Compares 2U and continued wowing audiences with her angelic voice and signature style.
Although Sinead O’Connor’s career spanned several different genres, she performed many Celtic classics and pop hits. One of her most popular albums was an inspired mixture of the two called Lion and the Cobra. Although Sinead O’Connor doesn’t enjoy the same level of success that she once did, she still periodically releases new albums and singles.
CMAT or Ciara Mary Alice Thomspon is a relatively new artist, but she’s already revolutionizing Irish music. The young artist from Dublin is famous for her throaty pop songs and signature style, bringing Irish flair to the genre.
However, one thing that really sets CMAT apart is her mastery of country style coupled with catchy pop tracks.
With catchy, relatable lyrics and quirky pop-culture references, CMAT is transforming traditional Irish music while still holding true to her Dublin roots.
She’s a great artist to familiarize yourself with if you want to listen to new spins on classic tunes.
4. Dolores O’ Riordan
Dolores O’Riordan is one of the top female Irish singers of all time. As the frontwoman of The CranberriesO’Riordan shone on melancholy and wistful tracks like Dreams and more politically charged and raw ones like Zombie.
O’Riordan and The Cranberries were instrumental in bringing Irish music to the forefront during the 1990s and also for elevating Irish political causes.
Although O’Riordan is mainly remembered for her work with The Cranberries, she had a great solo career as well. Her solo albums included classics like Are You Listening.
Unfortunately for the music world at large, O’Riordan passed away in 2018, fans and contemporaries leaving devastated.
5. Ailbhe Reddy
Young Ailbhe Reddy is another new, fresh voice on the Irish music scene, but she’s already selling out shows at home and abroad.
One thing that Reddy does exceptionally well is pair classic folksy lyrics and sing with a harder indie sound. The combination of the two is fresh, engaging, and nearly universally appealing.
One of Reddy’s latest albums, personal history, is full of catchy songs and relatable lyrics, elevating her into the pantheon of hard-hitting Irish female vocalists.
6. Eve Belle
Eve Belle is another up-and-coming female Irish singer whose songs rely heavily on chronic personal experiences and relating to her audience.
Although much of Eve Belle’s catalog is relatively dark, her songs never get too melancholy. Instead, they touch on very relatable experiences like heartache, loss, and devastation, all in a very beautiful way.
Although Eve Belle certainly gets the pain right, she’s not afraid to veer into pop territory too. In-Between Moments is a poppy, upbeat masterpiece full of singable tracks and plenty of tender ballads.
This versatility is what makes Eve Belle one to watch and, indeed a great artist to add to your Irish playlist.
7. Big Piig
Biig Piig, or Jess Smyth, is a newer voice on the scene, and what she really brings to the table is a fresh infusion of rap mixed with more traditional Irish music. There are very few Irish rap stars, putting her in a new class all of her own.
Biig Piig was featured in Origins: The Story of Irish Hip-Hop for her expert mixture of classic Irish, pop, and hip hop music.
Although Biig Piig was originally Irish, she’s also lived in London, which gives her music a fascinating, global flair. She puts a new face on Irish music with expertly produced tracks like Don’t Turn Around while still paying homage to the classics.
8. Allie Sherlock
Allie Sherlock’s story is the ultimate rags-to-riches tale, and it all started when she was only about 12 years old.
The very young singer started off busking on the streets of Dublin before being discovered and launching into a meteoric career culminating with a stint on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
Although a cover of Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran originally got her noticed, she is a songwriter in her own right.
Now, Sherlock is officially signed with Patriot Records and well on her way to becoming one of Ireland’s most iconic singers.
9. Andrea Corr
Andrea Corr first performed with her band The Corrs As a jill-of-all-trades, vocalizing and playing instruments.
Like many successful female Irish singers on our list, she specialized in fusing pop and Celtic music together.
Corr is a gifted vocalist, but that’s far from her only talent. She’s also an accomplished piano and ukulele player.
She still has a massive following on Spotify and uses her platform to promote many different causes, including animal welfare.
10. Siobhan Fahey
In the 1980s, Bananaram was all the rage, and Siobhan Fahey was their face. The Irish/British band was one of the first girl power groups out there, producing toe-tapping hits like Venus.
It speaks to the group’s talent that Bananaram is still fairly popular today.
Fahey was also part of Shakespears Sistera poppy duet that rose to fame during the 1990s.
She’s also an award-winning female vocalist, taking home such honors as the Ivor Novello Award and influencing young musicians today.
11. Una Healy
Una Healy is a bit of a renaissance woman, making her mark in music as well as on Irish television programs. The Irish-born Healy first got her big break in The Saturdaysan all-female group, before finding her voice as a solo artist.
Hit songs like Stay My Love made Healy’s solo career a huge success.
Her talents aren’t limited to the recording studio, though, as she’s also a very talented swimmer and an ambassador for Reebok.
12. Imelda May
Like many of the top singers on our list, Imelda May is a multi-faceted performer who plays instruments as well as sings. She vocalizes and writes her own music, plus has experience playing bass guitar, guitar, and tambourine.
Her appreciation and understanding of music make her work a many-dimensional journey with highly poetic lyrics.
One of May’s top albums is Love Tattooa striking example of vocal artist, with emotional songs like Johnny Got A Boom Boom and Feel Me.
13. Nadine Coyle
And finally, we have Nadine Coyle is famous for being a star of the silver screen, but her musical career is no joke either.
Although Irish fans will know their hometown girl from shows like Popstarsher work really shines as an integral part of Girls Aloud.
As one of the top members of Girls AloudCoyle was able to effectively showcase her wide vocal range and ability to convey several different emotions over the course of a single song.
She’s most well known for her phenomenal breathwork and precision while singing.
Summing Up Our List Of Famous Female Singers From Ireland
As you can see from this list above, these female Irish vocalists come from all age groups and disciplines, but they have one thing in common; they are some of the top performers in their fields and are shaping the future of Irish music for the better.
From the traditional to the avant-garde, these are Irish female singers and songwriters that you should definitely put on your next playlist.
But, this list is far from complete. Who have we missed off? Let us know and we’ll add them in!