EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is telling the story behind the beloved song "Galway Bay" in a new and magical video.
When you think of Christmas songs it's hard for your mind not to go straight to The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York", which was first released in 1988.
It’s the quintessential Irish Christmas classic, a global anthem about Irish emigration that has over 325M listens on Spotify and 87M views on YouTube.
In the chorus, Shane MacGowan has a standout lyric on which most listeners join in: “…the boys of the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay…”. While people all over the world belt out that line, very few realize there has never been an NYPD choir, so none have ever sung Galway Bay…
As champions of Irish emigrants the world over, EPIC has decided to bring this famed line to life, to help tell the story behind Galway Bay, another timeless Irish classic, penned by another Irish emigrant Dr. Arthur Colahan as a tribute to his homeland and his brother.
They've assembled a handful of retired NYPD officers, who together with a local amateur choir, lent their voices to the beloved "Galway Bay" in a Brooklyn recording studio.
The result, you’ll agree is a breathtaking rendition of "Galway Bay’", which EPIC hopes will be shared with and reach the Irish around the world, wherever they might be spending Christmas this year.
Retired NYPD Officer John Behan said of the song "Galway Bay’", “My grandfather used to play it at Christmas time, that was a song that he liked. He was a tough guy but he got soft when that music came on. He was a good man.”
The piece is also a fitting tribute to the impact that the Pogues’ "Fairytale of New York" has had - the song has been described as a cultural touchstone for many Irish emigrants.
Music enthusiasts will be excited to learn that on Friday, December 1st, EPIC will launch a supporting exhibition titled, "They Gave The Walls a Talking - The Extraordinary Story of The Pogues and Shane MacGowan."
Developed in collaboration with Hot Press and running until the end of January 2024, the exhibition will delve into numerous themes, encompassing songs of emigration, the creation of "Fairytale of New York", 'literary influences, and much more.
So EPIC actually created an NYPD choir just to sing Galway Bay and how beautiful is that?! 🥲 https://t.co/HDIlLiAHnB— The Pogues (@poguesofficial) November 15, 2023
Merry Christmas from everyone at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum!
About EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum was created to honor the Irish diaspora abroad and recognize the vital contributions and monumental impact Irish people have made worldwide. By combining personal emigrant perspectives with social and cultural context, visitors can understand why a person left Ireland and the beliefs and heritage they brought with them. The museum was voted Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2019, 2020 & 2021.
Check out EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum's website for more information. Open 7 days a week, you can visit EPIC at Custom House Quay, Dublin 1. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.