The song was written by May's bassist, Al Gare, after they played a show in Westport, Co. Mayo.
Gare said: "Whilst touring with Imelda, to keep myself sane, I play ukulele and write poetry. We played the Westport Festival a few years ago and I was stunned at how vibrant and beautiful it was – from the high street of traditional pubs, to Croagh Patrick mountain which overlooks Clew Bay. "I ended up staying there for a few days and wrote the poem Tears of Clew Bay."
After showing the poem to May, she encouraged him to put it to music. Al then met with Des Cafferkey and Peter Carney, Pipe Major and Pipe Sergeant with the Clew Bay Pipe Band and a musical collaboration evolved. Des scored the pipe melody and harmony along with the haunting whistle tune which accompanies Imelda’s vocals throughout the track. The drum score for the snare was composed by Owen McNamara and the tenor score was arranged by Roisín Carney.
Having become a live favourite at concerts, the song has now been recorded with the Clew Bay Pipe Band.
May has described it as "absolutely gorgeous".