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Fairytale of New York is Ireland's favourite Christmas song by landslide, new poll shows

It’s according to new polling conducted by Red C on behalf of The Journal.

A screengrab from The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York video
A screengrab from The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York video

As part of a monthly series, The Journal and Red C ask readers questions about their daily lives and the issues that really matter to them.

IRELAND’S FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS song is Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, according to a new poll. 

An opinion poll carried out for The Journal by Red C Research has found that the 1987 Christmas classic is 40% of people’s preferred Christmas song.

Respondents were asked to choose their preferred Christmas song, if any, from the following: 

  • Last Christmas – Wham
  • All I Want For Christmas – Mariah Carey
  • Feliz Navidad – José Feliciano
  • Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl
  • Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid
  • Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
  • Stop The Cavalry – Jona Lewie
  • White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  • Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
  • The Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby & David Bowie
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland

Fairytale Of New York is loved across all demographics, coming out on top among all age groups in the survey. 

The song went to number two in the UK charts when it was released in 1987, being kept off the top spot by Always On My Mind by the Pet Shop Boys. 

The Pogues’ classic has caused much debate in recent years over the use of the word “f****t” and whether it should be censored. 

Responding to the controversy surrounding the song in 2018, The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan, who wrote the song in 1987, explained why he included the offensive term, saying:  “The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character.

“She is not supposed to be a nice person, or even a wholesome person. She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate.”

The musician said that he is “absolutely fine” with the word being censored and added that he doesn’t want to get into an argument.

Back to the polling, the nation’s second favourite Christmas song is Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea, with just 9% of people choosing it as their preferred song. 

Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas follows in joint third place, with 7% of the vote each. 

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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland is the least preferred song, on just 2%, followed closely by The Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby & David Bowie and Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie at 3% each. 

A total of 3% of people said they have a different favourite Christmas song that wasn’t listed as an option. 

Finally, 3% of people said that they don’t like Christmas songs. 

Red C interviewed a random sample of over 1,000 adults online between 2 and 8 December for the survey.

Panellists were chosen at random to complete the poll, with quotas set for age, gender, class, region, education level and working status to ensure a nationally representative sample.

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