Rain washed Galway is nestled between Lough Corrib and a stretch of wild Atlantic sea that rolls along Galway bay. It is a medieval city of about 80,000 folks, noted for having a rich cultural tradition. Which finds it’s expression in the many forms. Such as July’s Art festival of street performances, Parades, plays, musical concerts and international Artists. To the annual Horse racing festival in Ballbrit with it’s fashionable ladies and tailored gents.
Throughout the year most Pubs are graced with a variety of talented musicians. Playing music from every strip and stripe of the spectrum. Which is probably among the reasons why Galway is currently the European Capital of Culture for 2020, alongside the Croatian city of Rijeka
Being the principle city in the West of Ireland it has a rich vein of folk and traditional music practitioners. Where guitars, Fiddles, Bodhrans and Accordions are not an uncommon cite or sound upon the cobbles stone of Shop st or the shade of buttermilk lane. That, coupled the odd pint, the harsh fineness of it Men and the ferocious beauty of it’s women makes it’s no wonder that two famous musician both pinned Songs of some acclaim about “the Galway girl”.
Steve Earle first wrote about the titular Galway Girl and whirling her about the Salthill promenade around the turn of the millennium. (Caution: if the wind catches you there, you may end up whirling for hours!). The other version called Galway girl , is by the Songwriting scallywag Ed Sheeran. Which at last viewing had over 460 million views on YouTube, that’s more than all the people that live in Galway and it’s Suburbs and hinterlands!
All of these influences blended together and fed into my Painting The Galway Girl, Shawl and all (Feat. Ed Shearing). I pictured a woman with hair of black and eyes of blue. A woman that wouldn’t look out of place on Ladies day at the races, with her eloquent poise and contemporary fashionable Galway shawl (that’s another cracking folk song).
She is sitting in Eyre Square, resting a moment between belting out a few lively tunes on her fiddle. She does this just as much for her own amusement as for the delight of the lucky passers-by. She’d had her ups and down and she’s learn’t you’ve got to look out for number one first.
Over her right hand shoulder is the fountain with Éamonn O’Doherty sculpture of the Hooker sails. Which is a nod to the cities maritime history and traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay. The sculpture was installed to mark the quin-centenary of Galway’s incorporation as a city in year of our lord 1984.
Over her right should is The Browne doorway. Relocated to the Eyre square in 1905 after being taken from Browne family townhouse on lower Abbeygate. Where it was build in 1627, as the Brownes being one of the fourteen Tribes ruling of Galway, i presume were living high on the hog
There are a few sheep roaming about the Square. This is due to Ed kindly volunteering to do a little shearing. The wool I gathered up and sent off, to be converted in to these Cotton T-shirts: Galway Girl (feat Ed Shearing)