RTE’s Ireland’s Favourite Folk Song: The Henry Girls showcase Phil Coulter’s ‘The Town I Loved So Well’

The Henry Girls from Malin and Phil Coulter.
The Henry Girls from Malin and Phil Coulter.

A stirring rendition of Phil Coulter’s anthemic ‘The Town I loved So Well’ has been recorded by Inishowen’s The Henry Girls for RTÉ’s search to find ‘Ireland’s Favourite Folk Song’.

The song, which charts the story of the people of Derry before and during the Troubles, is among the ten shortlisted in the final of the competition out of hundreds of candidates suggested by members of the public.

The Henry Girls, who hail from Malin, are the latest in a succession of top artists to cover the song. Both its author Phil Coulter and Luke Kelly have also achieved considerable acclaim across the world for their own renditions.

People have less than a fortnite left to vote for their favourite folk song in the national competition, with each song featured on the popular weekly RTÉ TV series presented by Mary Black each Sunday evening.

A specialist jury was set up to assess the entries, with County Derry anthem ‘Danny Boy’ (a.k.a. The Derry Air), which is connected to the Roe Valley, also making it into the top ten.

The ‘The Town I Loved So Well’ and ‘Danny Boy’ are joined on the shortlist by ‘On Raglan Road’, ‘Green Fields of France’, ‘Rainy Night in Soho’, ‘The Foggy Dew’, ‘Óró Sé Do Bheatha Bhaile’, ‘The Parting Glass’, ‘The Rocky Road to Dublin’ and ‘A Woman’s Heart’.

People can vote only once, and can also listen to the ten songs, by accessing the following link, www.rte.ie/culture/folk-song/2019/0425/1045599-vote-for-irelands-favourite-folk-song/
Writing about Phil Coulter’s epic song on RTÉ’s website, poet and musician Gerard Hanberry spoke of its “powerful emotional punch”.

“It carries the listener on a rollercoaster of feelings from nostalgia and pride, through shock and grief, to end on a note of optimism for a better future,” he wrote.

Voting closes at 6pm on May 27, and the song selected as Ireland’s Favourite Folk Song will be announced live on The Late Late Show on RTÉ One Television on May 31.