There's no question that Normal People has been one of the most successful Irish televisual exports ever; you know you've made it when not only is Liveline flooded with outraged callers, but even one of the Kardashians are tweeting about how much they love it.

It has certainly raised the stock of lead actors Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones, but eagle-eared listeners may have noticed that a number of Irish artists were given a major platform on the show, too.

In fact, the soundtrack was heavily weighted in favour of independent Irish artists – so we've chosen five that warrant further investigation.


Fans of brilliant Wicklow band Enemies may be familiar with Mark O'Brien, the bassist in the math-rock four-piece who enjoyed success in parts of Asia as well as in the UK and Ireland during their nine-year tenure. Since that band split in 2016, O'Brien has trodden quite a different path with his solo project. Now working under the name Royal Yellow, his new project draws on myriad influences – from folk, soul, jazz and old film scores – with O'Brien aiming to "blur the lines between indie songwriter and hip-hop producer." He has only released a handful of singles, including the irresistibly groovy Aruba, and the recently-released May the First, a weird and wonderful reworking of Lisa Hannigan's song Pistachio. An album, if it ever happens, could be really special.


She's still only 25, yet Orla Gartland is already a veteran of the Irish independent scene. The Dublin native began uploading cover versions to YouTube when she was just 13 and has amassed a sizeable following on social media, which has blossomed with the progression of her original material. With collaborations with everyone from Daithi to Booka Brass Band under her belt over the years, the quirky indie-pop musician is a versatile performer and has released several EPs that fans of artists like Imogen Heap and Regina Spektor will appreciate.


Before you even hear a note of his music, Uly's backstory will have you captivated. Dublin-based musician Rafino Murphy studied Astrophysics at university and spent time in Japan as a research intern in that field before the creative pull became too persistent to ignore (hold the 'music industry/financial black hole ' jokes, please.) Murphy's musical world is an intimate one; his soulful, lo-fi, scuffled bedroom pop, as heard on songs like new single Cold Water and redlight (which featured on Normal People), is both seriously groovy and incredibly intriguing.


If you've been around as long as we have, you'll probably remember Halfset – the band of multi-instrumentalists that took in electronica and swoonsome post-rock. After releasing their second album Another Way of Being There in 2008, they went their separate ways; guitarist and vocalist Jeff Martin went on to record under the Ghost Maps moniker, and drummer Cillian McDonnell and bassist Stephen Shannon (also a stalwart producer of Irish acts) would eventually form Mount Alaska. A somewhat harder-edged proposition that ventured further down the ambient electronica' rabbit hole, their debut album Wave Atlas: Season One was released last year and is one for fans of meditative, immersive, elegantly-composed electronica tunes.


A spur-of-the-moment decision to relocate to Spain changed the course of both this Wicklow native's career and her life. After graduating with a biochemistry degree, she decided on a whim to relocate to the city of Granada – and it was while living in the culturally-rich Spanish city that her passion for music was reignited. Last year, her debut album Idle Mind – made with members of folk acts Ye Vagabonds and Clang Sayne lending a hand – flew somewhat under the radar, but it showcased a real talent for writing songs that are rooted in folk, yet unafraid to draw from a wide range of influences.