Letter G-Galway Girl-Steve Earle

This year for the 2023 A-Z Blog Challenge, I’m going to begin by listing a song or musical subject, and then see how fast and how far I can completely blow up my own “stream of consciousness,” and head “off the reservation,” by linking every real, and “Zulu Delta-imagined” fact, piece of music trivia, or not so apparent connection to what is racing around my head to that song in an “unstructured, graffiti-like” format. Complete and utter nonsense! Turn it up and turn it on, but as Van “The Man” Morrison said…….”It’s already turned on!”

In 2000, Steve Earle wrote one of the most popular songs ever to play in Ireland. 

A cover version of the song by Mundy and Sharon Shannon reached number one and became the most downloaded song of 2008 in Ireland; it has gone on to become the eighth highest selling single in Irish chart history.

It wasn’t inspired by some ancient Irish Folk song passed down from priests or fisherman, or some classical literature put to music from the “literary titans” that graced the North Atlantic Island such as James Joyce (Ulysses), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), Bram Stoker (Dracula), or C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia). 

No, in fact, Steve was not from Ireland at all. He was an American from Texas.

The song was his “semi-fictional” account about “boy meets girl.” This time on the western coast of Ireland; Galway.

From the lyrics;

“because her hair was black, and her eyes were blue”

The most eloquent compliment ever used in a song to describe the combination of historical heritage and DNA characteristics associated with two long-ago invading forces in Ireland. The black hair was from sailors of the Spanish Armada that settled in Ireland when they were blown off course during a storm while waging war with the English, and the blue eyes from the invading Nordic Vikings.

In the middle of Galway City sits the “Lynch Castle” and The Ming Garden Chinese Restaurant.

The Lynch Castle and The Ming Garden

The Lynch Family was influential, and featured prominently in Galway’s history. In a “contested story” from 1493, James Lynch Fitzstephen, then mayor of Galway, hanged his own son for the murder of a Spanish sailor. 

Real or not, this was were the expression “Lynched” derived from. Irish Immigrants brought it to America when they came.

On my first visit to Galway, I pulled off one of my greatest “James Bond” driving skills ever; I drove a standard car (“Well Kid, that means it had a clutch”)……..while using my left hand to shift, and driving on the Left Side of the roads. Tricky!

My longtime reader and literary supporter Martha Reynolds has written a wonderful novel entitled “April in Galway.”


I teased her that her novel lacked a speck of authenticity, because it didn’t mention one of my all-time favorite Chinese Restaurants on the planet; The Ming Garden….in Galway…..across from the Lynch Castle.

I have made several pilgrimages back to the Ming and it was wonderful each time. Unfortunately, the Ming Garden in Galway is now closed. I believe it was “difficulties” from the COVID pandemic.

In a double stroke of bad luck, the Ming Garden in Downtown Providence (yes, across from Riccotti’s Sub Shop) closed down many years ago, but it was the place where I found out Chinese food was not the terrible La Choy crap out of a can that we sometimes had as kids. 

The song Galway Girl appeared in the movie “P.S, I Love You.”

The movie also included the Pogues masterpiece song “Fairy Tale of New York,” with the beautiful voice of Kristy MacColl singing along. Sadly, Kristy would be killed by a motor boat in Mexico, swimming in an area that motor boats were not allowed.

Lyrics……….”The Boys in the NYPD Choir singing Galway Bay…………….

Two of my Grandparents were from Galway. My mother would always shout out the battle cry….”Up Galway! (Down Kerry).” Years later, I would stop in a gas station in Galway that sold hats with a Shell Oil symbol, and the words “Up Galway” stitched on it. I randomly wound up chatting gleefully with the owner for an hour!

“Ah Hello……….I’m an introvert!” Most people with Irish Heritage are…………

We especially bonded when I told him that I was from Rhode Island, and I loved Block Island. As does Martha Reynolds, as does everybody who has ever been there! The man told me he had visited Rhode Island and REALLY wanted to go out to Block Island one Sunday, but his wife had “guilted” him into going to church instead. I told him God loved Block Island as well, and would have approved.

He thoroughly agreed!

Pick one…..beautiful woman, Chinese Food, great music………Get to Galway when you can. 

9 thoughts on “Letter G-Galway Girl-Steve Earle

  1. My new favorite post!! Thanks for the (TWO) mentions, Z! Hoping to get to Galway this fall. I’ve heard it’s a great place!
    I did not know that Kirsty McColl had died. That’s too bad. Remember “Walking Down Madison”?


  2. The video of 15,000 people singing Galway Girl with Mundy is my favorite music vid ever! Also, when we were in Dingle, Ireland in 2011, we went into the Dingle Pub. There was a hen party tearing up the dance floor. They played Galway Girl, but everyone hollered “Dingle Girl!” instead of Galway Girl during the song. It truly was a “fine, soft day”!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s