Galway was showcased to 160,000 screaming pop fans at the weekend when the iconic Treasure Chest appeared on the big screen over two days at Croke Park.
In a clip that’s been viewed by millions of people all around the world, the William Street shop provides the backdrop for a young busker strumming a guitar…a busker who, skip forward a few years and a few hundred shows, grew into Grammy-nominated, Platinum-selling Ed Sheeran.
It’s refreshing to see that, at just 24, the singer-songwriter – who has a Galway connection through cousin and fellow musician Laura Sheeran – genuinely seems grateful for his success, like he can’t believe his luck to sell out venues like Croke Park twice over. On Saturday, each time he turned to change instrument, the camera caught a grin on his face.
Naming no names now (alright, it might rhyme with ‘nice’), some musicians would perhaps want to reassess their own attitude to playing for fee-paying fans. But I digress.
Back to Ed. Love him or mildly dislike him (because he seems like a lovely young lad, in fairness) you can’t say the young singer didn’t graft for his success, starting out playing street corners, nor that he hasn’t used it for considerable good, particularly when it comes to granting wishes for terminally ill fans.
Backstage at a show last year, he ‘married’ 19-year-old English fan Katie Papworth, who later passed away from an aggressive form of brain cancer, and sang down the phone to 15-year-old Irish cystic fibrosis sufferer Triona Priestley shortly before she passed away. Small wishes, but ones that undoubtedly meant the world to those girls, and to their family and friends.
It’s not often in life you get the chance to wave a magic wand and make life a little happier for an ill child, but wish granters don’t have to be chart-topping singers. In these pages this week you’ll find staff from local shops helping to raise funds for children’s charity Make-a-Wish. And just last Friday, Woodies Wellpark helped grant a teenager’s wish to have his own ice cream vendor bike (see page 6).
Make-A-Wish currently has around 14 local children on their waiting list, and is looking for Galwegians to join its Wish Granting team – go to www.makeawish.ie, contact Barbara Cahill on 01-2052012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on maybe waving a magic wand and making a wish come true.