The Boys of the NYPD Choir finally sing Galway Bay…
Culture//Galway Stories//Music

The Boys of the NYPD Choir finally sing Galway Bay…

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! Watch the video here...

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 over 325million listens on Spotify and over 87million on YouTube. Music body PPL officially named Fairytale of New York 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 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 which was 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 of New York, a handpicked group of retired NYPD officers joined a local amateur choir and 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's 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 The Irish Emigration Museum 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 1980s 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'."

Head to YouTube now to watch the video. Listen to the NYPD Choir’s Galway Bay on Spotify, iTunes, or wherever you stream your music. Visit to find out more about the exhibition.

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