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In Memory of Shane MacGowan: NYPD Choir Honours 'Galway Bay' in EPIC Collaboration

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The Pogues, renowned as one of the greatest Irish musical groups of all time, gifted the world with the timeless classic ‘Fairytale of New York.’ This iconic song has etched its place in the hearts of countless individuals globally, standing tall as the epitome of Christmas tunes. However, within its chorus lies a lyric that has captured the imagination of listeners worldwide: “…the boys of the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay.”

A Curious Revelation:

Surprisingly, what many don’t realize is that there has never been an NYPD choir, and consequently, none have ever sung ‘Galway Bay’ – until now. In a recent and remarkable initiative, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, champions of Irish emigrants across the globe, sought to breathe life into this famed line and pay homage to the song ‘Galway Bay.’ Authored by Irish emigrant Arthur Colahan, ‘Galway Bay’ stands as another timeless classic, reflecting the deep connection between Irish emigrants and their homeland.

The Ambitious Project:

EPIC took a bold step by assembling a group of retired NYPD officers, individuals deeply connected to Irish roots, who, along with a local amateur choir, lent their voices to the beloved ‘Galway Bay.’ This collaborative effort unfolded within the walls of a Brooklyn recording studio last month. The result of this unique endeavour is a breathtaking rendition of ‘Galway Bay,’ a musical tribute that promises to resonate with the Irish diaspora worldwide.

A Tribute to Shane MacGowan:

As we embark on this musical journey, it’s impossible not to remember Shane MacGowan, the brilliant mind behind the Pogues and the unforgettable ‘Fairytale of New York.’ In remembrance of MacGowan, whose legacy continues to influence the world of music, this initiative takes on even greater significance.

The EPIC project’s rendition of ‘Galway Bay’ stands as a testament to the enduring power of music and the ability to bridge gaps between cultures and communities. This Christmas, as the hauntingly beautiful notes of ‘Galway Bay’ reach Irish hearts across the globe, the project not only honours the legacy of a classic but also pays tribute to the spirit of Irish emigrants and the unbreakable ties that bind them to their homeland. In the absence of an actual NYPD choir, EPIC has created a mythical one, breathing life into a lyric that has long captured the imaginations of listeners worldwide. The harmonious voices of retired officers and local amateurs unite to bring forth a rendition that captures the essence of ‘Galway Bay,’ offering a unique and heartfelt gift to the global Irish community.

Shane MacGowan's Star-Studded Farewell: Cremation Caps off Musical Tribute

In a poignant farewell to the legendary singer Shane MacGowan, his remains were cremated in Shannon yesterday afternoon following a lively celebration that lasted into the early hours. The ceremony, attended by family and close friends, featured a star-studded service with Johnny Depp among the invited group of friends who participated in the private cremation.

Shane MacGowan’s wicker basket coffin was conveyed from St Mary’s of the Rosary church in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, on Friday evening after the memorable service. It was then transported to Ryan’s funeral home in the town, where it was kept overnight.

Johnny Depp, who delivered a reading during the funeral service on Friday afternoon, followed the hearse in a cortege from the funeral home in Nenagh to the crematorium in Shannon. The ceremony included renditions of several Pogues and Shane MacGowan songs, creating an intimate atmosphere.

Typically, ashes are given to the family 24 hours after the service. However, speculation surrounds the destination of Shane’s ashes, with a source indicating that his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, is yet to decide. Options include scattering some on the River Shannon, placing some in the family grave with his mother, and potentially creating a memorial at home.

Depp, who had tenderly touched Shane’s wicker basket coffin upon arrival at the church, played a significant role during the service, providing a reading on ‘Peace, Love, and Forgiveness.’ Shane’s wife, Victoria Clarke, highlighted in her eulogy that Shane advocated forgiveness and expressed a desire for Depp to “forgive” his ex-wife Amber Heard amid their public legal battles.

The American actor served as one of the pallbearers, assisting in carrying Shane’s coffin out of the church. Depp was also among the 250 invited mourners who continued the commemoration at The Thatched Cottage pub in Nenagh, extending the festivities into the early morning.

The musical tribute at The Thatched Cottage, led by the band Cronin, featured renditions of iconic Pogues songs, including “If I Should Fall From Grace With God,” “Streams Of Whiskey,” and “A Pair Of Brown Eyes.” Artists such as Glen Hansard, Lisa O’Neill, Spider Stacy, BP Fallon, Mundy, Camille O’Sullivan, Imelda May, and Niall McNamee contributed to the diverse repertoire.

Notable performances included Nick Cave’s rendition of “A Rainy Night in Soho” at the church, while Sharon Shannon and Colm Mac Con Iomaire from The Frames impressed the crowd with their musical prowess.

While Nick Cave did not attend the Friday night celebration, he paid homage to Shane with a performance in the church. Johnny Cronin, from the band Cronin, refrained from commenting on the private event at The Thatched Cottage but did confirm Depp’s involvement during the church proceedings.

As the music played on, friends and fans alike bid farewell to Shane MacGowan, celebrating a life that left an indelible mark on the world of music.

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