The Galway Shawl

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"The Galway Shawl" is a traditional Irish folk song, concerning a rural courtship in the West of Ireland. The first known version was collected by Sam Henry from Bridget Kealey in Dungiven in 1936.[1] The song has been popularly recorded by many ballad groups in Ireland and is now commonly adapted to a waltz time so that people can dance to it.

It is basically a story that takes place in May in Oranmore. The narrator sees a girl wearing a bonnet with ribbons and a Galway shawl around her shoulders. He and the girl go to her father's cottage. The girl tells him to play "The Foggy Dew" to please her father. The man plays some hornpipes and the girl sings them as she cries tears of joy. The song ends as the narrator bids the girl farewell as he's bound for County Donegal. He will always remember her Galway shawl.


Sounds Samples[edit]


  1. ^ Sam Henry's Songs of the People, p 269