Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin—better known as Enya—is a prolific singer, songwriter, and musician. Throughout her decades-spanning career, she has become the bestselling Irish solo artist of all time.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Sad or Sorrowful Enya Songs for a Funeral
- Uplifting Enya Songs for a Funeral
- Enya Songs for a Parent’s Funeral
- Enya Songs for a Child or Adult Child’s Funeral
Enya is perhaps best known for her popular new-age songs but enjoys reverence in the Celtic, pop, and world music genres. However, her repertoire transcends any single style of music.
Enya’s ethereal voice and heartfelt lyrics have won her fans of all ages from across the world. These characteristics also make her tunes some of the best funeral songs. Here, we break down the best Enya songs for different types of end-of-life services.
Sad or Sorrowful Enya Songs for a Funeral
Enya is known for her delicate mezzo-soprano voice, which particularly lends itself to haunting ballads. These songs are appropriately solemn if you’re planning a traditional memorial service or a funeral.
1. “If I Could Be Where You Are” by Enya
This song is about the end of a relationship, but the bereft lyrics are also perfectly fitting for a funeral service. The narrator talks about their desolate loneliness in the wake of being separated from their loved one.
2. “Trains and Winter Rains” by Enya
This more-recent Enya song is notable for its intricate a capella vocal percussion that mimics the sound of a moving train. The interesting sonic elements serve to underscore sparse and devastating lyrics like, “Trains and winter rains, no going back, no going home.”
3. “It’s In The Rain” by Enya
Rain finds use as a metaphor for tears or sadness. In this evocative song, a narrator imagines she can hear the voice of a loved one calling her name in the rain. The feeling of being haunted by a loved one you can’t let go of makes this a perfect sad funeral song.
4. “Watermark” by Enya
This epic song was inspired by classical composers like Claude Debussy and Erik Satie. While Enya’s longtime lyricist did write a poem that accompanies the music, they ultimately decided it was more potent as an instrumental piece. It also has a pedigree as a funeral song and was even included on a tribute album to Princess Diana after her untimely death.
5. “Boadicea” by Enya
This song tells the story of the real queen of a British-Celtic tribe who led a rebellion against the Roman Empire in 60 AD. Sadly, her efforts were in vain, and the Romans conquered her people. This mournful song captures her struggle to win a losing battle.
Uplifting Enya Songs for a Funeral
One of Enya’s strengths is her ability to create music that is uplifting but still soothing. These buoyant songs are perfect if you’re planning a memorial service that’s intended to be more of a celebration of life.
6. “Orinoco Flow” by Enya
This uptempo new age single is arguably Enya’s best-known song. The chorus cheerfully encourages someone to “sail away, sail away, sail away” and explore the many wonders the world has to offer. At a celebration of life service, it can signify that the deceased is heading off on a new adventure.
7. “Only Time” by Enya
Besides Orinoco Flow, this is probably Enya’s most famous song. Its message is simple but heartfelt: we can’t predict the future; we can only go with the flow and let time unfold. The idea that life—and death—will unfold as they are meant to can bring comfort to grieving people.
8. “May It Be” by Enya
This song was originally written for the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. It even features lyrics in Elvish! Hopeful lyrics like “A promise lives within you now” can feel like a message of inspiration on behalf of the deceased.
9. “Echoes In Rain” by Enya
After a lengthy hiatus from making music, Enya returned to the game with this uptempo single. Billed as a sequel to “Orinoco Flow,” Enya has described it as a journey home from the travels the original track embarked upon. The lyrics explore the cyclical nature of life.
10. “Book Of Days” by Enya
This song was written for the film Far and Away. Its mixture of English and Irish lyrics reflect its storyline of someone leaving one world for something better. The journey in this song could serve as a metaphor for someone passing into the afterlife.
Enya Songs for a Parent’s Funeral
Enya started her career as part of her family’s folk band, Clannad, before pursuing a solo career. Family is a theme that is woven into many of her songs. These tunes are perfect for paying tribute to a parent who has passed away.
11. “Evacuee” by Enya
Longtime Enya lyricist Roma Ryan wrote this haunting song after watching a documentary about the London Blitz in 1940 and 1941. It tells the true story of a little girl who was separated from her parents during wartime. Eventually, they were reunited, which gives this song its ultimately hopeful message.
12. “Athair Ar Neamh” by Enya
The title of this Irish language song translates to “Father in Heaven.” While the lyrics are officially a prayer to God, they can also be interpreted as a child crying out to their father who has gone to heaven.
13. “So I Could Find My Way” by Enya
Enya dedicated this song to the late mother of Nicky Ryan, her longtime producer and collaborator. Its tender lyrics express heartfelt appreciation to a mother who uplifted her child and helped them achieve their dreams
14. “Anywhere Is” by Enya
This ethereal song almost has a fairytale quality to it. Its narrator struggles to find her place in a shifting, mazelike landscape. Lyrics like, “I might be just beginning, I might be near the end” capture how fickle and fleeting life can be.
15. “I Could Never Say Goodbye” by Enya
This bittersweet song tells the story of someone who can’t seem to say goodbye, even though their loved one has long since left. Children often can’t fathom living in a world without their parents. This plaintive song helps capture that emotion.
Enya Songs for a Child or Adult Child’s Funeral
While Enya doesn’t have any children of her own, fans worldwide praise the aura of motherly love that she exudes. These songs capture her Mother Earth vibe and can provide great comfort during the funeral of a child.
16. “Wild Child” by Enya
In this song, the narrator implores a wild child to slow down and live in the moment. She lists all of the things we should take a few minutes to enjoy: the summer sun, a winter evening, the turning of the autumn leaves. It’s a reflective song that’s perfect for celebrating the life of a child who lived to the fullest.
17. “Exile” by Enya
This melancholic song was written from the perspective of a soldier in World War I as he sends letters promising to come home. Inspired by the poetry of Winifred Owen, this poignant song speaks wistfully of someone who wants to be reunited with a loved one but knows the possibility is slim.
18. “On My Way Home” by Enya
This song's simple and meditative lyrics tell the story of a narrator who remembers all the best times in their life. As they walk home on a silent and snowy winter night, they can only recall happy and positive memories. A parent might take comfort in the thought of their late child happily heading to a new home.
19. “Evening Falls” by Enya
This Celtic-tinged new age song tells the story of a woman who discovers that she’s a spirit haunting the house in her dreams. Lyrics like, “Like a child passing through, never knowing the reason I am home” make this a good choice for the funeral of a child who has passed away.
20. “Only If…” by Enya
An energetic beat and optimistic lyrics make this the perfect song for an upbeat celebration of life service. The lyrics tell the story of a person who looks for the good in everything. Lyrics like “And for the heavens are those who can fly” paint a picture of a person moving onto a better place.
The Best Enya Songs For a Funeral Playlist
Enya is a versatile artist with a career that has spanned over four decades. Her ability to tap into human emotion has helped her sustain her popularity over time. Her diversity in subject matter and genre help make her catalog a rich source for modern funeral songs. Whether you’re planning a traditional memorial service or an uplifting celebration of life service, an Enya song will fit seamlessly into your program.