“Galway Girl” is a song recorded by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. The song is a collaboration between Sheeran and the Irish folk band Beoga, and mixes Irish traditional music with pop.
On Saint Patrick’s Day 2017, Sheeran announced the song as the second single (third overall) from his album ÷ (2017), accompanied by a lyric video.
The song reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 1 on the Irish chart when it became available for download and streaming on the release of the album.
In his interview for the cover story of GQ’s March 2017 issue, Sheeran explained he had to fight to keep “Galway Girl” on the album. The influence of Van Morrison’s Irish Heartbeat is clear, and Ed believes it will be “fucking massive.”
The term “Galway Girl” describes a black haired and blue eyed woman from the city of Galway and it was coined by Steve Earle’s song of the same title.
The track features award-winning Irish folk band Beoga as co-writers and musicians. He told Irish radio:
I’ve actually got a song on the new album which I think is really gonna explode in Ireland. It would be something to do with the county of Galway. I’ve got a trad band called Beoga, they’re actually from Belfast. It’s a fiddle, a pipe, a bodhran and piano and we really jam.
It’s gonna be really good but I think I will never be able to play another song in Ireland again because that one will just be the song.
In a Track x Track interview with Zane Lowe, Sheeran talked about the process of making the song:
I came up with this song with Foy [Vance], Johnny [McDaid] and Amy [Wadge]. We were recording in Suffolk and we had Beoga, this lrish folk band, come and record some other songs. They have a song called “Minute 5.“ I just said: “Can you try that on it?” They did and it sounded brilliant so we just kept it.
They [Warner Music] were really, really against “Galway Girl,” because apparently folk music isn’t cool. But there’s 400 million people in the world that say they’re Irish, even if they’re not Irish. You meet them in America all the time: ‘I’m a quarter Irish and I’m from Donegal.’ And those type of people are going to fucking love it. My argument was always: well, the Corrs sold 20 milion records. The label would say, ‘Oh the Corrs, that was years ago,’ but who’s tried it since the Corrs? There’s a huge gap in the market, and I promise you that in two years’ time there will be a big folk band that comes up that’s pop, and that will happen as a result of labels being like: ‘Oh shit, if he can put a fiddle and uilleann pipe on it, then we can try it as well.’