As a song, “Galway Girl” is all about being happy and having a good time.
The music video does a spectacular job at reinforcing that message. It features celebs from Irish radio hosts, to rugby stars, to Saoirse Ronan, a Brooklyn-native two-time Academy Award nominee.
The sixth track of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide), “Galway Girl” is an escapade through Galway, an Irish harbor city and a hub for pubs and live folk music, a major influence on his previous albums that lives again within this song.
The scenes are shot from Sheeran’s point of view as he runs throughout Galway with Ronan and a camera. It is charming from the start as he enters the first bar––O’Connors Pub in Salthill––and finds Ronan dancing with the pub regulars. It has a warm feeling of camaraderie with the added personal effects that arise from the filming style. And within a night of adventure there are always mishaps. After accidentally throwing a dart into the back of a man in the pub, they take to the streets.
The video was filmed in April causing a frenzy in Galway as fans saw Ed Sheeran and Saoirse Ronan running through the streets of their hometown. The two came upon some Irish street dancers who seemed quite surprised by their appearance. Ronan even joined them dancing. As they continued their venture through the streets, coming upon musicians and other locals, they took the time to stop, sign autographs and take photos. It was heart-warming and rang with honesty and joy.
In a funny scene which Ed Sheeran has commented on, “She really took the p*ss out of me,” they arrive at a tattoo parlor and Ronan writes “Galway Grill” on his arm before a tattoo artist inks over it. That is the name of a restaurant in Epcot Center that serves Guinness and potatoes, not the name of the song. The prank was taken in good taste and has become a story to tell.
They moved on to the last pub of the night where they took to dancing, drinking, and unfortunately running into the dart victim who unceremoniously punched Sheeran in the face as the bar watched on in shock. He gets knocked out and wakes up to Ronan in an attic apartment where they embrace and watch the sun rise over the ocean from the small balcony.
“Galway Girl” definitely shows Ireland’s city of Galway as a friendly, welcoming place. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s quite the enticing destination. Who’s to say? Maybe you’ll see a wild Ed Sheeran walking along the streets.