The EPIC untold story behind Fairytale of New York

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EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum assembles “the boys of the NYPD choir” to sing Galway Bay this Christmas

Exhibition launches in Dublin telling the story of The Pogues and Shane MacGowan

DUBLIN, Dec. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Pogues’ song Fairytale of New York is regarded by many as the anthem for Irish global emigration. It remains one of the most played Christmas songs of the 21st century. A standout line in the chorus reads: “the boys of the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay” And whilst many have joined in to sing out the line, few are aware that the NYPD choir has, in fact, never existed, let alone sung Galway Bay.


That is, until now!

EPIC the Irish Emigration Museum, based in Dublin, have decided to bring this famed line to life, assembling an NYPD choir to sing Galway Bay, just before the bells start ringing out for Christmas Day this year, as a tribute to the Irish diaspora around the globe.

Galway Bay was penned by Irish emigrant Arthur Colahan as a tribute to his homeland.  

Almost 36 years after the release of Fairytale of New York, a 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 much-loved song, Galway Bay.

EPIC have captured the recording of the song in a heart-warming video that will resonate with the Irish diaspora around the globe. 

Aileesh Carew, CEO of EPIC said, ” We take immense pride in highlighting the stories and accomplishments of Irish emigrants, demonstrating that Irish identity transcends the geographical boundaries of our island.”

Back home in Dublin, EPIC have unveiled They Gave The Walls A Talking, a meticulously researched and poignant exhibition that has been months in the making. Developed in collaboration with Hot Press, Ireland’s legendary music, entertainment and pop culture magazine and website, the temporary exhibition is dedicated to The Pogues and the late Shane MacGowan. It is an opportunity for people to celebrate the songs and the music of The Pogues and to reflect on how the band – and their legendary lead singer and songwriter – became so widely loved and admired. The exhibition will run until 31 January, 2024.

Developed in collaboration with Ireland’s leading music magazine, Hot Press, the exhibition investigates the creation of Fairytale of New York alongside other songs of emigration and the literary influences that inspired them.

Speaking about the exhibition, Nathan Mannion, Head of Exhibitions & Programmes at EPIC said that it “charts the marvellously wild, fiercely fiery, and wonderfully inspiring contribution The Pogues have made to music in Ireland and across the world.”

The NYPD Choir’s Galway Bay is available to view on YouTube at this link and is also available to listen to on Spotify, iTunes, or any major streaming platform.

Find out more about the untold story behind Fairytale of New York and the new exhibition in Dublin, They Gave the Walls A Talking  at EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum, at this link.

Visit to find out more about the exhibition.

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