Normal People: Who are the Irish musicians on the soundtrack?

The TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel is a shop window for the best of Irish music

The entire world seems to be in a swoon over Lenny Abrahamson’s adaption of Sally Rooney’s coming of age romance, Normal People. In addition to showcasing Ireland’s acting talent, the country’s natural beauty and the alarmingly high quality of Sligo under-age football, the series has served as a shop window for the best Irish music.

Here are just some of the homegrown artists who have caught the ear via the series’ soundtrack. (Contains minor spoilers.)

Anna Mieke

In what scene? Don't tell Liveline listeners, but episode one concludes with Marianne inviting Connell over to her mother's Sad Mansion. They kiss – it's a full-on snog, really – and the episode cuts to black. As it does Anna Mieke's melancholic croon sweeps in.
What's the track? Warped Window.
Who's the act? Mieke, from Wicklow, is a biochemistry graduate turned songwriter who has recorded with Brían Mac Ghlionn of Ye Vagabonds. Her influences include classical composition, and Brazilian and Appalachian folk.
Where can I hear more? Mieke's debut album, Idle Mind, was released in April 2019.

Orla Gartland

In what scene? Marianne is putting on her make-up at the start of episode two and going out, much to the disapproval of her heartless mother and completely evil brother.
What's the track? Did It To Myself.
Who's the act? Gartland is a Dublin songwriter who started out performing covers on her YouTube channel. She has released four EPs and achieved more than 15 million YouTube views.
Where can I hear more? Her YouTube channel is a good starting point. It features the "lyric video" to haunting recent single, Heavy.



In what scene? In episode three, Marianne is getting dressed up to go the school fundraiser disco from hell.
What's the track? Maybe.
Who's the act? Derry songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson, winner of the Choice Music Prize for her 2015 debut, Before We Forgot How To Dream.
Where can I hear more? She released her second LP, Grim Town, in 2019.

Department of Forever

In what scene? Marianne is hungover in Trinity after meeting Connell the night before.
What's the track? If You Stuff It All Down Deep Inside.
Who's the act? Fanagan is an Irish composer and songwriter based in London, who works as a sound designer for film. He has a past life as a heart-on-sleeve troubadour.
Where can I hear more? His bandcamp is an excellent starting point. You can access it via

Lisa Hannigan

In what scene? In episode four, at college, Marianne sends Connell a late-night text.
What's the track? Undertow.

Who's the act? The Dunshaughlin singer started out performing with Damien Rice but has had huge success since striking out on her own in the mid-2000s. She duets with The National's Matt Berninger on The Pull of You, one of the stand-outs on the band's I Am Easy To Find LP from last year.
Where can I hear more? Hannigan's most recent album, 2016's At Swim, is arguably her finest to date.

The Sei

In what scene? Connell takes a taxi journey home from Marianne's, in episode seven.
What's the track? Metroma.
Who's the act? Irish-Swedish duo Stace Gill and Maria Nilsson Waller. In 2018, they sang guest vocals on In My Darkest Moments by Daíthi.
Where can I hear more? Their Lumen EP was released last month.


In what scene? Marianne is skyping Connell from Sweden and is entranced as he falls asleep in front of her at the end of episode 10.
What's the track? Everything I Am Is Yours.
Who's the act? Villagers is a vehicle for Choice and Mercury-nominated songwriter Conor O'Brien.
Where can I hear more? O'Brien's fourth Villagers LP, The Art of Pretending to Swim.

Stephen Rennicks

In what scene? Rennicks composed much of the incidental music. Essentially whenever someone is crying or having sex – or both at once, as is often the case – he is tinkling in the background.
What's the track? He is ever-present on the score. One standout is Funeral Dark, which plays as Connell returns to Sligo for his friend's burial.
Who's the act? A former punk musician, Rennicks has collaborated with Abrahamson on What Richard Did and Room. He also wrote the bizarre new wave songs performed by Michael Fassbender in Abrahamson's Frank.
Where can I hear more? You can sample his work at

Mount Alaska

In what scene? Marianne and Connell are driving back to Dublin talking about his short story.
What's the track? The Subterranean Heart.
Who's the act? Electronic composers Cillian McDonnell and Stephen Shannon, previously of Halfset.
Where can I hear more? Debut album Wave Atlas: Season One.

Wild Youth

In what scene? Marianne and Connell walk into the pub on New Year's Eve.
What's the track? Can't Move On.
Who's the act? Pop combo from Dublin, much loved by Niall Horan who has taken them on tour.
Where can I hear more? Their 2019 debut EP, The Last Goodbye.

Fionn Regan

In what scene? Marianne and Connell have sex in episode 12.
What's the track? Dogwood Blossom.
Who's the act? Mercury and Choice Music Prize-nominated songwriter from Bray.
Where can I hear more? Regan's 2006 debut, The End of History, is a good jumping-off point.