Ed Sheeran's Irish nod pays off as 'Galway Girl' shoots to number one

... And sends floods of people to Galway for a Sheeran-themed scavenger hunt

Ed Sheeran’s new album ‘Divide’ was officially released at midnight and it’s already topping the charts with one track – Galway Girl -  going to number 1 in Ireland in less than twelve hours.

His two previous comeback singles have also broken streaming records, pipping One Direction to the post in both cases with over 6 million and 4 million plays in 24-hours respectively.

The Irish connection

Sheeran is a second generation Irishman with a granny in Wexford and plenty of Irish cousins. He’s also a red head who once busked on Grafton Street outside the old HMV when he was a child, earning €200 in loose change.

 But if any of this has slipped people’s minds, the strong Irish themes in ‘Divide’ are sure to make it stick.

‘Galway Girl’  is one of the opening tracks from the album. If the title itself doesn’t persuade you, Sheeran’s references to Grafton Street, fiddles, Van Morrison, trad tunes and céilis certainly will.

However, the song very nearly didn’t see the light of day – not without Sheeran putting up a fight. In an interview with the Guardian the musician said:

“They were really, really against Galway Girl, because apparently folk music isn’t cool. But there’s 400 million people in the world that say they’re Irish, even if they’re not Irish. You meet them in America all the time: ‘I’m a quarter Irish and I’m from Donegal.’ And those type of people are going to f**ing love it.”

He also goes on to mention The Corr’s success and how he believes there’s a huge gap in the market for folk bands in pop.

The album features Belfast trad band, Beoga, who collaborated with the musician on 'Galway Girl' and 'Nancy Mulligan' - a tribute to the love story of Sheeran's Irish grandparents in Wexford. 

Divide Day

In a novel bid to promote the album, Sheeran has set up a scavenger hunt in Ireland, offering one lucky winner the chance to see him live in the 3Arena on April 13th and meet the singer.

Images: edsheeran.com 

The lyrics are cleverly placed on Galway's Shop Street, around the same spot a young Ed Sheeran used to busk... 

Sheeran will play two sold out shows at Dublin's 3Arena next month on April 12th and 13th.