1 Ed may have been born in West Yorkshire in England, but his family hails from Ireland. His grandmother, Nancy, was born in Gorey, County Wexford, where she still lives today. Indeed, the song Nancy Mulligan from his new album, Divide, is dedicated to her. Ed's cousin, Laura, meanwhile had the man himself as guest of honour at her wedding in Spiddal, County Galway.
2 The always-smiling Ed loves traditional Irish music, but he’s not just an interested bystander. This music man plays the bodhrán, a type of Irish drum, in his video for Photograph. Irish folk band Beoga also features on his song Galway Girl – it was speculated that fiddler Niamh Dunne was the Galway girl herself, but she’s happily married to an Irish man, and is actually from Limerick!
She played the fiddle in an Irish band; But she fell in love with an English man; Kissed her on the neck and then I took her by the hand...
3 Before the bright lights and stadium performances, Ed loved to go busking on Shop Street in the City of Tribes, Galway. He still loves to perform in Ireland – he returned to our shores for a super-intimate gig in Whelan's pub on Wexford Street in 2015, and then came back later in the year for four sold-out nights in Dublin's Croke Park. Ed may well have picked up some words in the Irish language on these trips… Just have a listen to his recording of hit Thinking Out Loud in Irish!
4 At some of his shows Ed has been known to don a green GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) jersey. Not only that but Ed – and his beloved shirt – were hard to miss when they appeared together in the film Bridget Jones’s Baby.
5 Ed is best mates with musical heavyweights from the island of Ireland, and has been spotted hanging out with Mullingar’s Niall Horan from One Direction, and Northern Ireland’s Johnny McDaid, famed guitarist of the band Snow Patrol. Keeping up the tradition of joining Irish wedding parties, he accompanied Johnny to his sister Brid’s wedding, where they performed for the happy couple.
6 Ed has gone on the record proclaiming his love for Northern Ireland before – he told Belfast's Cool FM that he thinks it's really beautiful! Given that he just bagged a guest role on HBO's Game of Thrones®, which is filmed in part in beautiful Northern Ireland, he might be visiting again soon! Details of Game of Thrones'® upcoming season have been kept tightly under wraps, but keep your eyes peeled for Ed in Westeros when season seven airs in July.
So Ed, let us know the next time you're coming to Ireland – we'll roll out the green carpet in your honour.