Epic exhibition offers inside track on Fairy Tale of New York

Epic, the award winning museum in Dublin’s Docklands which tells the story of some of the millions of Irish emigrants is always worth a visit, but this Christmas there’s a special exhibition on The Pogues and the late Shane MacGowan that’s a must see.

As “Fairytale of New York”, featuring Shane and Kirsty MacColl, hurtles towards a potential No 1 spot in the UK singles chart, head to Epic to get the inside track on this haunting and rambunctious Irish song.

There can be few in Ireland over the age of five who does not recognise the opening piano notes or know the lyrics by heart but few will know that Shane used some creative licence writing it.

“The boys of the N.Y.P.D. Choir were singing ‘Galway Bay,’” he belts out but actually there never was any NYPD choir who knew the words to Galway Bay. It sounds glorious but he made it up, the choir never existed!

Until now that is because in a touching, and very timely, tribute to Irish emigrants and the global Irish diaspora, EPIC has brought together some retired NYPD officers to form the NYPD Choir.

These proud individuals, joined by a local amateur choir, recently gathered in a recording studio in New York City to lend their voices to the beloved ‘Galway Bay’. The result is a breathtaking rendition  that the Irish all over the world will resonate with and probably cry to.

Trigger warning the video below may make you sob it’s that beautiful.

This week Epic also 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, ‘They Gave The Walls A Talking’ is a special temporary exhibition dedicated to The Pogues and the late Shane MacGowan. 

The Pogues, with original bassist Cait O’Riordan biting the shoulder of Shane MacGowan.

Running until the end of January 2024, this moving exhibition illuminates the evolution of The Pogues, the rise of punk rock, and the role of the Irish diaspora on the British music scene – as well as the genesis of the marvellously iconic ‘Fairytale of New York’. Featuring contributions from Siobhan MacGowan, Glen Hansard, Nick Cave, the producer of ‘Fairytale of New York’ Steve Lillywhite, Imelda May, and Hot Press editor Niall Stokes, and material from the Hot Press archive, from Shane’s family and from the family of the late Frank Murray, the band’s original manager, it is a must-see for music fans.

The Epic museum is in the basement of the CHQ complex in the IFSC and tells the stories of just some of the millions of people who left the island of Ireland and how they influenced and shaped the world in an exhibition which spans 1,500 years of Irish history.

It’s a mind-blowing experience on any day but it’s even more special following Shane MacGowan’s recent passing –  so make sure you visit in the next few weeks for a wonderful Christmas outing.

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