Supporting Local News

NYPD choir finally sing about Galway Bay – thanks to EPIC project

It’s the most played Christmas song of the 21st century, but the Fairytale of New York reference to the Boys of the NYPD choir singing Galway Bay was a misnomer on two fronts – until now.

Because there was never an NYPD choir and therefore they couldn’t have sung Galway Bay – only now 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.

Galway Bay, a song of longing, remains enchanting, drawing visitors from across the globe to the City of the Tribes – although its writer has largely faded into obscurity within his cherished Galway.

Born on August 12 1884, in Enniskillen, Arthur Nicholas Colahan later relocated with his family to Galway. There, he enrolled at the ‘Bish’ before becoming a boarder at Mungret College in Limerick.

In 1900, he pursued an arts degree at UCD before embarking on medical studies. He successfully graduated as a doctor from what was then Queens College Galway in 1913.

His professional journey began at the County Infirmary (now the County Buildings) and later led him to Holles Street.

As the spectre of war loomed, he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps and suffered severe effects from mustard gas exposure in India.

Following the war, he established himself in Leicester, dedicating the remainder of his career to becoming a specialist in neurology.

Among his diverse interests, music held a special place, and he took pleasure in playing the piano.

He crafted several original songs, including the Kylemore Pass and the Claddagh Ring. But his most renowned composition, ‘Galway Bay,’ emerged in 1927.

In turn, Fairytale of New York has been lauded as a global Irish emigration anthem with over 325 million listens on Spotify and more than 87 million 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 sing out that line, very few people realise there never was an NYPD choir, nor did they ever sing ‘Galway Bay’… Until now.

Retired NYPD Officer John Behan is one of the officers now righting one long-running wrong!

“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,” he said.

Pictured: Retired NYPD members finally recording their version of Galway Bay.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up