ED SHEERAN may have finished 2021 on top of the singles charts in Britain and Ireland, but his New Year's Eve cover of Irish classic Raglan Road left viewers distinctly unimpressed.
The singer, whose paternal grandparents are from Ireland, performed the Dubliners song as a duet with Joy Crooks on Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny.
Holland himself joined in, accompanying Sheeran and Crooks on the piano for the performance on his annual end-of-year BBC Two show.
But while Sheeran is hugely talented and immensely proud of his Irish roots, that seemed to count for little as some viewers claimed he 'butchered' the song.
Also among the criticism was that it made Ronan Keating's infamous Fairytale of New York cover look good, while one Twitter user said they could "never forgive" Sheeran.
— Dublin Virginian (@DublinVirginian) January 1, 2022
I'll never forgive Ed Sheeran for butchering Raglan Road on Jools Holland last night
— Doyler (@AnonymousSean88) January 1, 2022
Ronan Keating's Fairytale of New York suddenly seems brilliant. Ould Ed Sheeran had great intentions, but by God Raglan Road.. Patrick Kavannagh and Luke Kelly will be spinning pic.twitter.com/WAJRY26u2x
— Iain Crowley (@iain_crowley) January 1, 2022
After seeing Ed Sheeran murder Raglan Road on Jools Holland I'm expecting Ireland to declare war in the morning. pic.twitter.com/P3XZMnUiV0
— Dr David Shaw (@DrDavidShaw1) January 1, 2022
The Luke Kelly statue is actually vandalising itself after Ed Sheeran covered Raglan Road.
— William Cass (@WCassotto) January 1, 2022
— Pádraig Burke (@padraig_b) January 1, 2022
— Gerry McK (@GMcK2012) January 1, 2022
— Dli O’Doir (@dli_odoir) January 1, 2022
Meanwhile, comments on the YouTube video of the recording were equally as scathing.
"This version has put the Good Friday Agreement into jeopardy," wrote one user.
Another added: "This does not put shivers down my spine or give me goosebumps. It is an abomination."
Meanwhile, a third wrote: "I never knew my ears could cry.”
However, it wasn't all bad news for Sheeran, with some defending both his performance and decision to cover the song.
Ed Sheeran and Joy Crookes have done exactly the version of Raglan Road you hear (used to hear) in any boozer in Ireland, a couple of verses remembered, and a few others hummed. Perfect really!
— Emmet Riordan (@emmetrd) January 1, 2022
— Cllr. Donna Cooney (@donna_cooney1) January 1, 2022
I'll never get the "nobody should sing Raglan Road but Luke Kelly" thing. It's a classic Irish pub ballad - meant to be murdered #EdSheeran
— Josef O'Shea (@josefoshea) January 1, 2022
Whether he’s your cup tea or not, the fact Ed Sheeran chose to sing Raglan Road on #joolsannualhootenanny #hootenanny again highlights the scope and influence of traditional Irish music and poetry #patrickkavanagh 🇮🇪
— Stephen M (@headofthetown) January 1, 2022
Anyone angry about Ed Sheeran's Raglan Road really ought to consider how many people have just googled Raglan Road and discovered Luke Kelly.
— Oli Keys (@OliKeys) January 1, 2022
Whatever viewers thought, it's unlikely to blot what has been another great year for Sheeran.
As well as ending the year top of the singles charts in Britain and Ireland with his Christmas duet with Elton John, Sheeran also finished 2021 on top of Britain's 2021 album charts.
His Equals album also topped charts around the world following its October release, while the singles Bad Habits and Shivers also reached No. 1 in Britain and Ireland.
2022 also promises to be another big year for the star, who will play two dates each in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Belfast as part of his Mathematics European tour.