Shane MacGowan and Philomena Begley perform 'Fairytale Of New York' on The Late Late Show
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Shane MacGowan and Philomena Begley perform 'Fairytale Of New York' on The Late Late Show

SHANE MACGOWAN took to the stage on RTE’s The Late Late Show to perform The Pogues’ signature Christmas hit Fairytale of New York.

The Irish musician was the main focus for a special edition of the RTE chat show paying tribute to his life and career to date.

Stars from the world of music, entertainment and beyond were in attendance on what was a memorable night for the Pogues icon.

MacGowan turns 62 on Christmas Day but reeled back the years with a special performance of the much-loved festive favourite Fairytale of New York.

Joined on stage by Philomena Begley, who sang Kirsty McColl’s section of the song, they were backed by an impressive band that included Pat Shortt on saxophone.

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The resulting performance served as the undoubted highlight of the night - even if Begley appeared a little unsure of the song’s lyrics at time.

Even so, she refused to be cowed to criticism over the song’s use of the word “faggot” which has been labelled homophobic in some quarters.

RTE had already clarified that the song would be performed, uncensored, ahead of the broadcast, so Begley’s refusal to adhere to the raft of critics calling for the word to be removed was hardly a surprise.

The performance drew a largely positive response from viewers on Twitter.

"It is such a tough song to do, she tried her best and nobody was going to be as good as Kirsty MacColl,” one wrote.

"I enjoyed the version."

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Another added: "Shane singing Fairytale of New York like this is as bittersweet as the song itself."

“Thank you for letting them sing fairytale of New York not filtered,” a third added.