14 of The Best Irish Female Singers

Ireland’s influence on music around the world continues to be strong. Starting from the early days of traditional Irish music to modern-day pop sensations and artists like Sinead O’Connor and Imelda May, these women have captured every genre imaginable on their way to success. 

While each singer has their own unique style, the way they interpret and perform Irish music is unmistakable.

Whether you are a fan of Irish music, or just curious to learn more about the amazing female artists that have come out of Ireland, have a look at our list of the 14 best Irish female singers.

1. Enya

The first on our list we have is Enya. Coming from a musical family, she began her career when she joined the Celtic folk band Clannad in 1980.

But left the group only two years later to pursue a solo career that would lead her to worldwide fame.

Initially, she made a mark with her contribution to the soundtrack of the romantic comedy film, The Frog Prince and her self-titled album, released as part of a BBC documentary series. But it was her second studio album, Watermark, released in 1988, that propelled her to international fame, followed by several more multi-million-selling albums.

As of today, she has sold 26.5 million albums sold in the US and an estimated 80 million records worldwide. Her best-selling album A Day Without Rain alone has earned her an impressive 16 million copies sold worldwide.

Her impressive list of accolades includes seven World Music Awards, four Grammy Awards, an Ivor Novello Award, and a Golden Globe award for “May It Be,” written for “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”

2. Dolores O’Riordan

Irish female singers are not often widely-known, but Dolores O’Riordan was an exception.

Best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist for The Cranberries rock band, Dolores rose to fame with her beautiful angelic voice and performing style that was unique to her roots with a hint of Limerick accent.

Before the start of The Cranberries, she began forming her craft as a soloist in church choirs in which she showed signs of greatness which would later bring The Cranberries fame across the globe.

As her successful career grew, she released seven studio albums within The Cranberries including four chart-topping albums selling over 50 million records in total.

Tragically Dolores’ life was cut short in 2018, due to an accidental drowning in a London hotel room. However, her legacy lives on with some of the most iconic songs that have become anthems for a generation.

3. Sinéad O’Connor

Ranked among the most distinctive and controversial voices in the industry, Sinéad O’Connor is one of Ireland’s most influential female singers. Born in Dublin, Ireland on December 8, 1966, she has lived a life that’s both bittersweet and inspiring. Growing up wasn’t easy for Sinéad as her parents divorced when she was eight years old.

But destiny had other ideas in store for her. Her love for music quickly transformed into stardom with her soulful rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”. This was just the beginning, as she went on to release her first studio album, “The Lion and the Cobra” and followed it up with an even bigger hit, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”, which sold a massive seven million copies worldwide.

Not just an exceptionally talented vocalist, she has also become known for her passionate pursuit of truth and justice in all aspects of life, never shying away from difficult social issues or speaking out about her own deeply personal struggles. 

4. Andrea Corr 

Andrea Corr is an Irish female singer who has achieved incredible success, from her prominent role as the front singer of The Corrs to her successful solo career.  She first came to the public’s attention as part of a family band, made up of her siblings, Shane, Caroline, and Jim.

The band was hugely popular, achieving both critical and commercial success. Their first album, Forgiven Not Forgotten became an instant hit with the public.

When she struck out on her own, Andrea found success with solo albums such as Ten Feet High and Lifelines. Her music has been praised for its mix of traditional Irish folk with modern pop sounds, making her one of the most celebrated Irish female singers.

She has also found success in acting, appearing in films such as Evita and The Boys from County Clare.

Even more inspiring is Andrea’s dedication to charitable activities; she was even awarded an M.B.E by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 due to her contributions to music and charity – proving there’s more power behind those smooth vocals than we suspect!

5. Moya Brennan

Moya Brennan is another name that has earned its place among the best Irish female singers. Born into a large family of musicians, she has been writing and performing music since her childhood in County Donegal.

She is best known for her work with the band Clannad, which released groundbreaking albums such as Macalla (1985) and Banba (1993).

Even though Moya’s career spans several genres, it is her unique Celtic-influenced music that has earned her global recognition and praise. 

Talking about her solo career, Moya has released thirteen studio albums and collaborated with numerous artists, including Enya (her sister) and Bono, on a wide range of projects that share her distinctive Celtic-influenced sound.

6. Nadine Coyle

With an impressive 20 consecutive UK top-ten singles and five consecutive platinum studio albums, Nadine Coyle is another Irish female singer who deserves her place on this list. She first burst onto the pop music scene as a member of the group Girls Aloud, who were formed on the show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002.

As part of the group she went on to sell over 4 million records in the UK alone with chart-topping hits such as ‘Sound Of The Underground’ and ‘Love Machine’.

Like other singers on this list, she has also found success with her solo projects, including her debut solo album Insatiable, which was released in 2010.

She’s also gone on to become a successful television presenter and judge, appearing as a guest judge on America’s Next Top Model.

7. Una Healy 

Una Healy has long been celebrated as one of the most talented voices not only in Ireland but in pop music as a whole.

Her career began as part of The Saturdays, a British-Irish girl band that had major success in Europe and beyond.

It was through this group that Una Healy’s talent was first recognized and after The Saturdays disbanded, she began to focus on her solo career.

Although widely appreciated previously amongst The Saturday’s fans, Healy is even more famous now for her numerous critically acclaimed singles that display her love for pop sound and refined songwriting skills.

8. Imelda May

Next up we have Imelda May, a prominent Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

Born Imelda Mary Clabby, she began performing with bands and musicians in the city’s Liberty area as a teenager.

With her own band formed in 2002, Imelda released her debut album ‘No Turning Back’. This album was a fusion of rockabilly revival and jazz elements, creating a unique and distinctive sound that set Imelda apart.

Thanks to her impressive performance on BBC’s ‘Later… with Jools Holland’, Imelda gained recognition from industry heavyweights, which opened the doors to collaborations and tour dates with some of music’s biggest names.

Today, Imelda May is widely revered by fans around the world for her electrifying live shows. She never fails to leave a lasting impression on audiences, with her vintage-style costumes, choreography, and high-energy performances from her backing band.

9. Allie Sherlock

Allie Sherlock is one of the youngest but most talented Irish female singers to grace the scene.

Born and raised in Cork, Allie (17 years old) initially honed her skills as a street performer, busking on the iconic Grafton Street in Dublin.

However, it was her incredible cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Supermarket Flowers” that truly put her on the map. The video went viral on YouTube in 2017, propelling Allie to international fame and recognition.

Since then, she has released two EPs, and two studio albums, and has appeared in several TV shows. As of today, she has an impressive 5 million subscribers on YouTube and over a billion views, solidifying her status as a rising star in the music industry.

10. Sharon Corr

Irish female singers don’t get much brighter than Sharon Corr. A key member of the highly successful four-piece Irish rock band – The Corrs – her rise as a renowned international solo artist with three major studio albums, is truly inspirational. 

Her unique sound combining elements of pop and rock, with traditional Irish influences, radiates through every single performance she gives, but it is her exquisite violin playing that truly sets her apart. 

Although initially known for his performances alongside The Corrs, Sharon’s flourishing solo career reflects her undeniable musical talent and makes her one of Ireland’s brightest female stars.

11. Edele Lynch

Best known as the lead singer of the Irish girl group B*witched, Edele Lynch, is without a doubt one of Ireland’s most successful female singers.

Formed in 1998, B*witched quickly climbed the music ladder and had achieved 8 top-20 hits by 2000. Their single, “C’est La Vie” became a worldwide hit, peaking at number one in the UK Singles Chart.

Since the group’s split in 2002, Edele has maintained her high-profile status, appearing on reality TV shows including  Celebrity Apprentice Ireland ( winner ) and Celebrity Big Brother.

12. Siobhan Fahey

Mostly known as the founding member of the iconic all-female trio Bananarama, Siobhan is another one of Ireland’s most influential female musicians who has inspired generations of female performers.

After leaving Bananarama in the late 80s, Siobhan formed the award-winning act, Shakespears Sister with whom she achieved even greater success, peaking at number one on the UK charts with their seminal hit ‘Stay’ in 1992.

Unsurprisingly, Fahey’s musical legacy has been nothing short of remarkable. Most recently, after a 20-years, Fahey again reunited with her Bananarama bandmates for a UK tour in 2017 and then continued on to a North America and Europe tour in 2018, proving that she’s still a force to be reckoned with.

13. Órla Fallon

The Irish female singer’s list would not be complete without Órla Fallon. A gifted vocalist, harpist, and composer,  Órla’s career is filled with numerous awards and accolades including four Irish Music Association Awards i and Best Harpist award.

Most well-known for her work with the vocal group, Celtic Woman, Órla has performed around the world, including in some of the most prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and The White House.

In addition to her success with Celtic Woman, she has also released several solo albums and collaborated with various artists only further cementing her status as one of the best Irish female singers to grace the scene.

14. Samantha Mumba

Last but not least we have Samantha Mumba.

Samantha burst onto the music scene in 2000 with her breakthrough hit single “Gotta Tell You”, which has since gone on to become one of Billboard’s 100 Greatest Choruses of the 21st Century.

Her debut album of the same name was also a huge success, with several top-five hits in Ireland and six top-ten hits in England. 

Aside from being a talented singer, Mumba has shown her versatility in multiple areas including songwriting, dancing, acting, modeling, and television presenting.

Wrapping Up

There we have it, our list of the 14 best Irish female singers. From Enya to Samantha Mumba, each one of these artists has made its own mark on the music industry. While some of them are still at the beginning of their career, others have already achieved international fame and recognition.

But no matter what stage they are at, each one of these incredible female singers is a reminder that Irish talent can go far beyond the boundaries of its small island.

We hope this article has inspired you to listen and explore the impressive and diverse talent that can be found here in Ireland.

So, who is your favorite?