EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum Honor the Extraordinary Story of The Pogues and Shane MacGowan

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EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum has this week 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.

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.

It coincides with a powerful special issue of Hot Press, published the day before the world learned of the sad passing of Shane MacGowan, that features contributions on the band and their magnificent music, from Jem Finer, Siobhan MacGowan, Nick Cave, Damien Dempsey, The Mary Wallopers, Bob Geldof, Johnny Cronin and many more.

Niall Stokes, Editor of Hot Press, said, “When we were asked by EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum to get involved in a special exhibition on the music of The Pogues and Shane MacGowan, with ‘Fairytale Of New York’ as a kind of celebratory mid-winter fulcrum, the picture seemed relatively bright. It was an idea that appealed enormously. We relished the thought of digging into the archives, not least because the music made by The Pogues really mattered, but because it still does – a fact which has become even more apparent, with the remarkable outpouring of love, affection, and respect from people all over Ireland, and indeed the world, following the heart-breaking loss of the Irish songwriting genius Shane MacGowan. He was truly one of a kind.

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, and – in the end – wonderfully inspiring contribution The Pogues have made to music in Ireland and across the world. While we were all deeply saddened by the recent passing of Shane MacGowan, it seems especially fitting now to celebrate the songs and the music of The Pogues. It is an opportune time to reflect on how the band, along with their legendary lead singer and songwriter, became so widely loved and admired.

The unveiling of this exhibition follows the recent launch of EPIC’s Christmas campaign, which brought to life a renowned line from The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York.’ 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 created an NYPD choir, and got them to sing ‘Galway Bay,’ just before the bells start ringing out for Christmas Day. 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.

This temporary exhibition will be on display at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum until 31st January 2024.

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Paul Micheau
Paul Micheau
Paul is a passionate travel writer and seasoned content creator, with a flair for storytelling. He has developed a keen eye for capturing the essence of places and experiences. Armed with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Management. Paul brings a strategic approach to his work, ensuring that each piece of content he creates resonates with audiences and leaves a lasting impression. Paul is also the founder and head of content for the popular 'IsItWorthIt' channel.

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