The Quest to Become a Galway Girl

As I walked down Galway’s main drag early one morning, I noticed that people—mostly teenagers, but a few adults—were lining the street in folding chairs and sleeping bags. I assumed that there must be a parade happening, but when no parade materialized after a few hours, I asked someone. They were camping out to wait for Ed Sheeran tickets to go on sale.

Unlike most celebrity crushes, Galway’s love for Ed Sheeran seems reciprocated. In fact, for the majority of Americans who can’t name an Irish city other than Dublin, he put them on the map with his hit “Galway Girl.” (Don’t worry, the souvenir shops have been quick to churn out “Galway Girl” merchandise).

Because I, an RW, am constantly keeping up with current trends, I decided there was nothing for me to do but become a Galway Girl, using Ed Sheeran’s lyrics as a manual. Step one: play fiddle in an Irish band. There’s no shortage of Irish bands in Galway, because you’re not even considered a legitimate pub if you don’t have four middle-aged men busting out some hot Celtic jams on the nightly. But I doubted any of them were in the market for a musician that played no instruments. So I decided that listening to a lot of Irish bands would count.

Great, check. Step two: fall in love with an English man. Oh Ed, you’re making this too easy! I’ve been in love with Benedict Cumberbatch since the dark days of high school. Done.

Step three: get euphemistically involved with several men during a wild night of drinking. I did consider scouring Tinder until I had gathered a Jack, a Johnny, a Jamie, and an Arthur, but my mother reads Let’s Go, so I just did the night of wild drinking part. Excuse me, I meant night of mild drinking, MOM.

Okay check, whatever, it’s the thought that counts. Step four: beat Ed Sheeran at darts and pool and also make out with him in a totally poetic way. (Is anyone else starting to get manic pixie dream girl vibes from this song? Anyone?) Ed Sheeran is probably busy hanging out with Taylor Swift or something, so this didn’t seem like an option. I did beat a redhead at cards once, though.

Step five: finish some Doritos and a bottle of wine. Okay, Ed, this is actually the most depraved combination I can think of. Doritios are gross, and it’s wine, so you should at least go with Cheetos or Cheez-its or something. This is the last straw—I am unfit to be a Galway girl.

In all seriousness, Irish music rocks, and I’m glad Ed Sheeran got back to his roots a little bit on his latest album. Galway is also pretty great—and so much more than fiddle-wielding goddesses who run off to London.

*Listen to Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran here!

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Mia Karr

Mia is packing up her set of all seven Harry Potter books and the collected James Joyce before heading off to the U.K., and then getting realistic and replacing them with a flashlight and extra underwear. She plans to find out exactly how much beer is in a pint while gallivanting around Ireland and aspires to show her parents that she is putting her (forthcoming) English degree to use by communing with Shakespeare’s homeland. When she’s not making plans to get the royal family to adopt her, she enjoys drinking coffee and talking about the severity of her coffee addiction.