English Language

English Language – narrative songs in English


English language ballads are narrative songs (i.e., songs that tell a story). A huge amount of material exists, both indigenous Irish material and songs from elsewhere that have been borrowed into the tradition. Given the geographical location and history of Ulster, it is no surprise that a wealth of material exists that reflects Irish, English and Scottish influences.

The Voice Squad brought an interesting dimension to the song tradition with their three-part harmony singing, something not generally found in the Irish tradition but possibly influenced by the English singing tradition.


Well-known performers include Sarah Makem, Paddy Tunney, Joe Holmes, Eddie Butcher, Frank Harte, Geordie Hanna, Davey Hammond, Brian Mullen, Paul Brady, Len Graham, Rosie Stewart, Eithne Ní Uallacháin, Mary Dillon, The Voice Squad, and Geordie Hanna


  • Frank Harte

    He Rolled her to the Wall

  • Eithne Ní Uallacháin of La Lugh

    The Emigrant's Farewell

  • The Voice Squad

    The Banks of the Bann