A band that’s a bit more Boston Irish, but definately caltic in nature is the Dropkick Murphys. It’s rather punk rock as well, but they have a piper and another bloke who plays mandolin, tin whisle, and dulcimer, a guitarist who switches to accordian when necessary, etc. Theie writing seems to sit in the Irish Drinking and Irish Worker but avoid the Irish Fey stuff. Don’t know if this describes what you’re looking for, but I though it would help.
I was going to say Altan and Clannad and Capercaillie too.
If you love the accent…although a lot of Mary Coughlan’s music is more bluesy than Irishy, she’s from Dublin and no matter what kind of music she sings with that amazing voice, it’s with a wonderful Irish brogue. I love Mary. I’ve met her a few times and she’s a lot of fun. Her voice has this whiskey and cigarettes, “ah fuck it, let’s go have a drink” quality that seeps into your soul. She does a cover of “Mother’s Little Helper” that makes you know that she KNOWS that song.
Love all these bands, except Deanta, who i’ve never heard.
The Tannahill Weavers are, of course, from Scotland. But i’m sure they’re worthy of inclusion in a thread about Irish/Celtic music.
StaberindeMk2 mentioned Christy Moore. I really like the work of Moore’s brother, Luka Bloom. It’s not Irish music in the same way as the more traditional bands above, but it’s interesting stuff and has a very Irish feel to it.
Most of my favorites have been mentioned, but you might also try to find anything by DeDannan; I don’t think they’re still together - I saw them live years ago in Detroit, but they’ve got some good stuff.
Not Irish at all, but in a similar vein, is Stan Rogers. He’s Canadian & does sea shanties/fishing songs/folk stuff. Most of my friends who like Irish/Celtic music also like Stan.
Another good one is Steeleye Span - do interesting covers of traditional songs.
In the same style as the Chieftains are The Clancy Brothers.
I’m surprised to see no mention yet of Tommy Makem, perhaps the single best living Irish folk singer (much the same style as the Chieftains and the Clancey Brothers, with whom he’s collaborated a time or two).
I’m also surprised at no mention of Enya, who’s more New Age-ish. She also happens to have one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard, and I could easily listen to her for days on end, even if I can’t understand what she’s singing (she often sings in Latin, Gaelic, or other languages).