‘Fairytale of New York’ has been lauded as a global Irish emigration anthem. It is an undisputed Christmas classic, annually topping most played and most loved Christmas song lists. It has +325M listens on Spotify and +87M on YouTube.
Music body PPL officially named ‘Fairytale’ the most played Christmas song of the 21st century.
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 sing out that line, very few people
realise there never was an NYPD choir, nor did they ever sing ‘Galway Bay’…
Until now. As an ode to Irish emigrants and Irish diaspora all over the world, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum have created an NYPD choir, and have got them to sing ‘Galway Bay’, just before the bells start ringing out for Christmas Day.
As champions of Irish emigrants the world over, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum wanted to bring this
famed line to life, and celebrate the song ‘Galway Bay’, another timeless Irish classic, penned by Irish
emigrant, Arthur Colahan, as a tribute to his homeland.
And so just over a month ago, 36 years after the first release of ‘Fairytale’, a handpicked group of retired
NYPD officers, joined by a local amateur choir, gathered in a recording studio in the heart of New York City
to lend their voices to the beloved ‘Galway Bay’.
The result is a breathtaking rendition of this timeless Irish song, complemented by a music video that the Irish all over the world can resonate with.
Aileesh Carew, CEO of EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, said, “At EPIC, we take immense pride in highlighting the stories and accomplishments of Irish emigrants, demonstrating that Irish identity
transcends the geographical boundaries of our island. With that in mind, what better way to celebrate this
than by giving life to that famous line in ‘Fairytale of New York’, performed by retired NYPD officers, all of
whom proudly share Irish heritage. This Christmas, we hope that the NYPD Choir rendition of ‘Galway Bay’ will be shared far and wide, both at home and abroad.”
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 also be delighted 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.
Commenting on the exhibition, Nathan Mannion, Head of Exhibitions & Programmes, EPIC The Irish
Emigration Museum, said, “The Pogues are one of the greatest Irish bands of all time. They were part of an
increasingly successful wave of Irish emigrant artists who made it big in Britain in the 1980’s and ‘They Gave the Walls a Talking’ charts the marvellously wild, fiercely fiery, sometimes drunken and – in the end – wonderfully inspiring contribution The Pogues have made to music in Ireland and across the world.”
Niall Stokes, Editor of HotPress said, “The Pogues music was – and remains – utterly unique. They took Irish folk and traditional music, shook it up to make it fizz like mad and injected into it a powerful punk spirit, and a wild Irish sense of abandon. But that was only the start of it. Within five years, the band had written some of the greatest songs ever about the experience of being Irish. It has been an enormous pleasure revisiting all of that musical magic and mayhem in preparing this pop-up exhibition, to which we have given the title “They Gave The Walls A Talking.”
Listen to the NYPD Choir’s ‘Galway Bay’ on Spotify, iTunes, or wherever you stream your music. Visit www.epicchq.com to find out more about the exhibition.