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"It didn't take me long to come up with a rough list of 30 great Irish albums, but the last 10 took a lot of head-scratching and a fair bit of spadework.It certainly made me realise how some albums which had been well reviewed at the time of release - and yes, mea culpa, well reviewed by this writer - just did not pass muster a couple of years on." Brian Boyd was surprised at his own choices: "I had a vague list in my head starting out, but after listening again to all the albums, that changed beyond recognition.Here is a very mellow version of the song by Mandy Moore.To be honest I find her introduction and admittance that she isn't 'a big top 40 listener' and that she 'doesn't tend to listen to this type of music' a bit sad especially as she had success with very poppy songs like Candy years ago.A writer's number one was awarded 40 points, a number two was awarded 39 points and so on. In these cases, we have numbered tied scores as, for example, 3a and 3b, then moved on to number 5.Some people have asked why Planxty are in the list. Well, they are they 40 best Irish albums, as chosen by our rock critics.When you do that for months and months, a year, years, you get pretty disorientated. The only thing that didn't seem to fit in was the outside world.



How did our correspondents find the selection process?Tony Clayton-Lea enjoyed the chance to listen to some of his favourite music."You so rarely hear your favourite albums in this job, given the volume of new stuff you have to listen to every week, so this was a real pleasure, dusting off albums that I might only listen to once a year, and playing the lot." Jim Carroll also enjoyed the process, up to a point.The band have not yet recorded a follow-up, but have re-formed and play the Electric Picnic later this year.

Jim Carroll 2 U2: ACHTUNG BABY (1991) After U2 went "away to dream it all up again", one of the visions the band had was to make an album that people could dance to.

A lot of my previous fixed ideas about certain bands and albums were changed by this exercise - and in all cases, for the better." Kevin Courtney found it hard to find good recent albums.