New exhibition honouring Shane MacGowan and The Pogues now open

New exhibition honouring Shane MacGowan and The Pogues now open

A NEW exhibition dedicated to The Pogues and the band’s late frontman Shane MacGowan is now open in Ireland.

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum has this week unveiled 'They Gave The Walls A Talking,' a poignant exhibit which they developed in collaboration with the Irish music magazine Hot Press.

Work on the project started months ago, they confirm, well before MacGowan’s death on November 30, aged 65.

But his passing might just make this celebration of his life all the more important, according to its organisers.

Niall Stokes, Editor of Hot Press, said: “When we were asked by EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum to get involved in a special exhibition on the music of The Pogues and Shane MacGowan, with ‘Fairytale Of New York’ as a kind of celebratory mid-winter fulcrum, the picture seemed relatively bright.

“It was an idea that appealed enormously,” he added.

Nick Cave, who contributed to the exhibition, with Shane MacGowan at a special gig celebrating MacGowan's 60th birthday held at the National Concert Hall, Dublin

“We relished the thought of digging into the archives, not least because the music made by The Pogues really mattered, but because it still does – a fact which has become even more apparent, with the remarkable outpouring of love, affection, and respect from people all over Ireland, and indeed the world, following the heartbreaking loss of the Irish songwriting genius Shane MacGowan.

“He was truly one of a kind.”

Shane MacGowan with his sister, the author Siobhan MacGowan at the launch of his art book The Crock of Gold

The temporary exhibition, which runs at the Dublin museum until the end of January, documents the evolution of The Pogues as well as the rise of punk rock and the role of the Irish diaspora on the British music scene.

It also focuses on the inspiration behind MacGowan’s iconic song Fairytale of New York.

MacGowan’s sister Siobhan MacGowan has taken part in the project, alongside the likes of Glen Hansard, Nick Cave and Fairytale of New York producer Steve Lillywhite.

Nathan Mannion, Head of Exhibitions & Programmes at EPIC, said of the initiative: “The Pogues are one of the greatest Irish bands of all time.

3The Pogues, with original bassist Cait O’Riordan biting the shoulder of Shane MacGowan, frontman and main songwriter with The Pogues

“They were part of an increasingly successful wave of Irish emigrant artists who made it big in Britain in the 1980’s and They Gave the Walls a Talking charts the marvellously wild, fiercely fiery, and – in the end – wonderfully inspiring contribution The Pogues have made to music in Ireland and across the world.”

He added: “While we were all deeply saddened by the recent passing of Shane MacGowan, it seems especially fitting now to celebrate the songs and the music of The Pogues.

“It is an opportune time to reflect on how the band, along with their legendary lead singer and songwriter, became so widely loved and admired.”

The unveiling of EPIC’s exhibition follows the recent launch of EPIC’s Christmas campaign, which brought to life a renowned line from Fairytale of New York.

Victoria Mary Clarke, Shane MacGowan, Johnny Depp and President Michael D. Higgins at the special gig to celebrate Shane’s 60th birthday, which took place in the National Concert Hall

In the chorus, MacGowan sings ‘the boys of the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay'.

Last month EPIC highlighted the fact that there actually never was an NYPD choir, nor did they ever sing Galway Bay.

But they further revealed that they ahd in fact created an NYPD choir, and got them to sing ‘Galway Bay,’ just before the bells start ringing out for Christmas Day.

Aileesh Carew, CEO of EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, said, "At EPIC, we take immense pride in highlighting the stories and accomplishments of Irish emigrants, demonstrating that Irish identity transcends the geographical boundaries of our island.

Shane MacGowan passed away on November 30 at the age of 65 (Image: Lovekin/Getty Images)

“With that in mind, what better way to celebrate this than by giving life to that famous line in Fairytale of New York, performed by retired NYPD officers, all of whom proudly share Irish heritage.

"This Christmas, we hope that the NYPD Choir's rendition of Galway Bay will be shared far and wide, both at home and abroad," she added.

They Gave The Walls a Talking - The extraordinary story of The Pogues and Shane MacGowan will be on display at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum until 31st January 31, 2024.

Visit to book or for further information.