Irish music is the A level of traditional music, where English is the O level. - Andybanjo
There is a phenominally rich vein of Music and Song from Ireland and more is added all the time to make it a living tradition. There are marked regional differences and active festivals and competitions. Much of the music is for the Dance in the form of Reels, Jigs, Hornpipes and Slides with Barn dances, set dances, waltzes, highlands and other forms being adopted. The tunes that we think of as Irish have influenced both Scottish and English traditional music for centuries and indeed Scottish and Irish tunes have a very intertwined history.
The reel and the jig are the best known forms of the Irish music and are ubiquitous, so much so that the word tune is synonymous with reel in some parts. "Some tunes and a jig" is a not uncommon expression. Polkas and slides are common to the Cork - Kerry border but are known elsewhere - East Clare polkas or Sligo polkas.
Irish music has been influenced from further afield. There are Mazurkas in the canon of Irish music (e.g. Sonny's Mazurka) and Polkas which are decidedly not native rhythms to Ireland. The form of both of these is different to their native habitat (Eastern Europe) and different again from an English Polka.
banjolin November 9, 2007