The Galway Arts Festival

Steve Earle was famously bewitched by the beauty of a Galway Girl. Visit the City of Tribes this summer and another Irish siren might just cast her spell over you, too

This year’s Galway Girl Imelda May
This year’s Galway Girl Imelda May

Steve Earle’s famous tune, Galway Girl, tells the tale of a romantic encounter with a raven-haired girl on the long walk into Galway City. They dance and twirl along Salthill, before the blue-eyed beauty disappears leaving Steve Earle with nothing but a ticket home and a broken heart.  

Galway Girl conjures up memories of fleeting summer romances for most people… that or Gerard Butler crooning (should that be crowing?) the song in the tearjerker P.S I love you

Take a trip to Galway this July and you could find yourself in a similar situation as poor old Steve Earle thanks to one Imelda May. Ireland’s Rockabilly queen is set to bring her vibrant style of good old-fashioned rock to the Galway Arts Festival. Ok, she’s from Dublin not Galway, but she is raven-haired (apart from her trademark blonde twirl) and possesses the voice of a rockabilly angel. Besides, we’re sure Steve Earle’s girl never shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen, Meatloaf and Van Morrison. 

Street entertainment and family fun in Galway
Street entertainment and family fun in Galway

Imelda May isn’t the only Irish performer set to stun The Galway Arts Festival. Oscar-winner Glen Hansard will take his melodious style of soft rock to the Big Top Concert and he’s bringing his guitar-slinging buddy Damien Dempsey with him. The two should make for an interesting show, as their styles are nicely contrasted, with Dempsey being the hard rock to Hansard’s softer roll. County Cork will be represented by brooding singer/songwriter Mick Flannery, who’ll be accompanied by the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra (that’s right, an entire orchestra of Ukuleles!). America has its stamp on the music side of things too with New York rockers Grizzly Bear and industry stalwart Josh Ritter also on the bill.  

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Apart from that trusty band of troubadours, there’s a veritable cultural carnival destined for Galway this July. The Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre will perform Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petrushka, and the high-flying trapeze artists Les Pepones will wow the crowds with their death-defying stunts. And as if that wasn’t enough to get your cultural appetite truly whetted, the South African production of Mies Julie will also be staged. All of these wonderful shows and gigs will be set in the ever-epic Galway City, where a good time comes as standard.

So take “a stroll down the old long walk on a grand soft day”, to Galway this July and who knows, you may find your very own Galway girl… or boy.

One thing you’re guaranteed to find is a really great time. 

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