Galway Bay chords & lyrics

... that dear land across the Irish sea

Composer: Arthur Nicholas Whistler Colahan
Music: F Major in 4/4/ time at ~ 54–60 bpm (♩)
  • F: xx3211
  • F: 132211 (B)
  • D7: xx0212
  • G7: 320001
  • C: x32010
  • C7: x32310
  • Gm7: 353333
  • Gm7: xx3333 (B)

Galway Bay

Intro: 4/4 |  F  -  D7  |  G7  |  C7  |  F  |
                                           (If you)

          F                           Gm7       C7
1. If you e-ver go a-cross the sea to Ire-land  
        Gm7           C7               F   
   Then may-be at the clos-ing of your day
            F                 D7              G7   
   You will sit and watch the moon rise o-ver Clad-dagh
       C7                             F   
   And see the sun go down on Gal-way Bay

           F                              Gm7          C7
2. Just to hear a-gain the rip-ple of the trout stream 
       Gm7           C7              F
   The wo-men in the mea-dow mak-ing hay
           F             D7               G7
   Just to sit be-side a turf fire in the cab-in
       C7                                     F
   And watch the bare-foot Gos-soons at their play

           F                                    Gm7      C7 
3. For the breez-es blow-ing o'er the seas from Ire-land 
       Gm7              C7               F 
   Are per-fumed by the heath-er as they blow
           F             D7                G7 
   And the wo-men in the up-lands dig-gin' pra-ties
           C7                                   F 
   Speak a lang-uage that the strang-ers do not know

           F                                     Gm7      C7
4. For the strang-ers came and tried to teach us their way 
        Gm7                 C7             F
   They scorn'd us just for be-ing what we are
            F                D7             G7
   But they might as well go chas-ing after moon-beams
      C7                            F
   Or light a pen-ny can-dle from a star

          F                                Gm7     C7
5. And if there is going to be a life here-af-ter 
       Gm7           C7                    F
   And some-how I am sure there's going to be
          F             D7             G7
   I will ask my God to let me make my hea-ven
      C7                                F
   In that dear land a-cross the I-rish sea... 

🗝️ F Major

Numbered Circles: Chord fingering - number inside circle indicates which finger to use
Unmarked strings: Play open
X: Don't play string
Barre Line: One finger holds down multiple strings
R: Root Note

Right Handed Charts:

Left Handed Charts:


Galway Bay
Galway Bay

Level Of Ease: Fairly easy

First bar of the introduction |   F  -  D7   | play the F chord for 2 beats and D7 for 2 beats.

It could have been written as |  F   /   D7   / | where the repeat sign / means you repeat the previous chord within the bar.

The 3rd & 4th line of each verse is exactly the same as the Intro.

The first line of each verse: Play F for 1 bar and the chords Gm7 and C7 for 1 bar - 2 beats on Gm7 and 2 beats on C7... the first line of each verse looks like this: |     F     |  Gm7 - C7   |

If you are unfamiliar with the song there are a few videos you can watch:

  • Foster and Allen   This consists of 2 key changes. It starts in E Major with a key change to F Major after Verse 2, and another key change to F# Major after Verse 4.
  • Celtic Woman   Key of E♭ Major ... an alternative version from the traditional one... very well done.
  • Bing Crosby   Key of C Major
  • Here are the key transpositions for the videos... you can also use the free music service below the song chart which is very handy for print outs with complete transpositions and optional chord charts if necessary.

Galway Bay Chords & Key Transpositions:

Song Key Song Chords
E Major E C#7 F#7 B B7 F#m7
F Major F D7 G7 C C7 Gm7
F# Major F# D#7 G#7 C# C#7 G#m7
E♭ Major E♭ C7 F7 B♭ B♭7 Fm7
C Major C A7 D7 G G7 Dm7
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