The singer’s eight-date Irish run, with a full band in tow, kicks off December 6 at Dolan’s in Limerick, Ireland. Eclectic indie singer/songwriter Richard Swift will accompany Ritter on the Irish dates as opening act.

The Irish tour is timed to coincide with an Ireland only release of a live CD/DVD, “In the Dark – Live at Vicar Street,” which was filmed earlier this year in Dublin.

The North American solo acoustic tour launches with a show January 27 in Norfolk, Va., and makes its way through the U.S. and Canada, before wrapping up March 1 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.

A variety of acts will be along for support on the tour, including Dawn Landes and Stephen Kellogg, and Okkervil River‘s Will Sheff.

Ritter’s wide-spread popularity on the emerald isles stems from the success of a song off his debut album, Golden Age of Radio. The song,”Me & Jiggs,” scored Ritter a place on the Irish Top 40 chart and earned him a place in the hearts of Irish fans.

His latest album, The Animal Years, recently earned accolades from an unusual source. In his column for Entertainment Weekly, The Pop of King, novelist Stephen King selected the album as his top music pick for 2006, calling it “the most exuberant outburst of imagery since Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”