St Patrick’s Day: Irish Acts To Watch In 2022

Our pick of the most exciting new Irish bands and artists to keep an eye on this year

If you were going to make a Paddy’s Day playlist, what would you put on it? U2, The Corrs, bit of Thin Lizzy to get the heart pumping, Enya to calm it down a bit, Fontaines D.C. to prove you know where it’s at, Westlife, Boyzone, some Clannad and The Pogues to really get in the spirit of things.

There’s nothing wrong with any of the above. Quite the opposite. But the Irish music scene is undergoing quite the renaissance at the moment, and St Patrick’s Day gives us a convenient hook to look at the most exciting new Irish bands on the rise. From post punk to rival Manchester in the early 80s to a hip hop scene boosted by an ever-diversifying cultural make-up, here’s our pick of Ireland’s best up-and-coming bands and artists.


The Dublin quintet release their debut album Maelstrom in May and it’s hard to think of a better name for their amped-up psych rock, like Circuital-era My Morning Jacket jamming with Interpol. The hypnotic, pulsating ‘Waltzer’ is a case in point, errupting into frenzies of distorted guitars, while the drums and synths stubbornly hold in place like statues in a moshpit. This is music that cries out for huge stages.

Just Mustard

The Dundalk five piece are hard to pin down, flitting from unsettling trip hop to cathartic explosions of noise rock and shoegaze. Katie Ball’s voice drifts above the squall, almost menacing in its angelic dreaminess. Their second album is due on Partisan in May.

Wyvern Lingo

It feels weird to call the Bray trio a “new band”, seeing as they released their debut EP in 2014 and are already a big deal back home. Caoimhe, Karen and Saoirse blend indie rock and groove-laden R&B into something truly unique and captivating. They really hit their stride with their 2018 self-titled debut and last year’s stunning Awake You Lie saw them begin to make serious inroads abroad.


Easily one of Ireland’s most-hyped bands in recent years, the Galway quartet’s hooky indie rock sits midway between the best 90s alt-rock and more recent peers like Alvvays, Camp Cope and Speedy Ortiz. Their Banshee EP is the work of a band just going from strength to strength.


Ireland has produced two of the biggest boybands in history, but there’s been a paucity of solo female acts (sorry, Samantha Mumba). Pastiche is setting that right with her dark, dark pop bangers. Last year’s ‘Bad Loser’ is as menacing as it is catchy, while ‘Disco Junkie’ thrums with evil disco vibes.


Speaking of Irish female artists, Mai Salif is another one with a bright future ahead. She grew up in Galway, raised by parents who moved to the west coast from the Ivory Coast. Opening slots with Tinchy Stryder and Lil Wayne have raised her profile considerably and Celaviedmai is now at the forefront of a new wave of Black Irish R&B and hip hop.

Pretty Happy

The art punk trio come racing out of the gate like natural heirs to their Cork brethren The Sultans Of Ping FC. Who else could get away with a song like ‘Sudocream’ and a line like “now you’ve got nappy rash all over your mouth”? There are also traces of The Pixies, Art Brut and Mclusky in there, but really Pretty Happy are all their own thing.


The Dubliner already has the Pitchfork seal of approval (she plays their London festival in November) and her 2021 Things That Don’t Exist EP showcased a remarkable ability to craft irresistible pop songs with a novelist’s powers of observation. The horn-laden, endearingly funky ‘Dog Videos’ and the skronky, fuzzy ‘Cold Blue Light’ are particular highlights. Big things await.


This Dublin quartet are accurately named, playing hard-charging garage rock that does everything at full pelt and takes its cues from The Stooges and Sonic Youth but with a particularly Dublin slant and an emphasis on catchiness. In Karla Chubb, they’ve as compelling a frontperson as any of their peers and their 2022 Modern Job EP is wall-to-wall brilliance, produced by Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox (the man behind the desk for fellow Dubs Melts and Silverbacks).


Fronted by Róisín Ní Haicéid, banríon sits firmly in the same emotive indie camp as the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Big Thief. Releases have been quality over quantity so far. Latest single ‘End Times’ is a gentle acoustic weepie to rival even Bridgers’ ‘Funeral’ or Julien Baker’s ‘Snapped Ankles’ and the band have recently been opening for Pillow Queens on their Irish dates.

Soda Blonde

Soda Blonde consist of 4/5 of beloved Dublin alt-rockers Little Green Cars. Following that band’s 2019 split, the four of the remaining members (minus frontman Stevie Appleby) reformed with Faye O’Rourke taking up lead vocals. Their sophisticated alt-pop is a far cry from the stadium-sized rock of their previous project, but has just as much potential for considerable success.