One of Ireland’s greatest sons is put to rest on a day that one of its greatest daughters was born: Mourners lead tributes to Shane MacGowan as he is laid to rest – on Sinead O’Connor’s birthday
The Pogues’ frontman Shane MacGowan has been laid to rest on the day another one of Ireland’s late musical greats, Sinead O’Connor, would have marked her birthday.
MacGowan died last week at the age of 65, following a battle with pneumonia. The singer had been discharged from hospital over a week before after undergoing treatment for viral encephalitis, a condition in which swelling develops on the brain.
Months after mourners lined the streets of Bray, in Co Wicklow, to pay their respects to the Nothing Compares 2 U singer O’Connor, they returned in their thousands to honour the Pogues star, as his horse-drawn carriage was pulled through Dublin.
Taking to Twitter, one person wrote: ‘My respects to Mr. Shane MacGowan. It is either crushing or maybe fitting that one of Ireland’s greatest sons is put to rest on a day that one of its greatest daughters, Sinéad O’Connor was born.’
Irish singer Imelda May was among those sending her birthday wishes to the late Sinead O’Connor on the day of MacGowan’s funeral saying ‘what a day for Ireland’.
O’Connor, who died in July and was a close friend of May and MacGowan, would have marked her 57th birthday on Friday.
In a touching post shared by Shane’s widow on Instagram, May wrote: ‘Happy Birthday Sinead. We send Shane off to join you today. What a day for Ireland. How blessed we were to have had such giants in our midst.
Friends: Sinead and Shane were friends for years and teamed up in the 1990s to critical acclaim, famously recording duet Haunted which stormed the charts
The Irish singer’s death was announced in a statement shared by her family, who said they were ‘devastated’ by her passing
‘Myself and Sinead and my darling @victoriamaryclarke at @shanemacgowanofficial 60th celebration (and the day we lost Dolores). All my love to Sinead’s and Shane’s families today.’
O’Connor’s shock death in July reportedly left MacGowan ‘floored’ when it was announced. The 65-year-old had been in an intensive care unit when he heard of the loss of his close pal.
A source told The Sun: ‘Shane is absolutely floored by this. He and Sinead were very close.
‘They had their ups and downs over the years but they were the best of friends. Victoria and Shane and Sinead were extremely close.
‘She stayed with them frequently when she was in town. They are absolutely heartbroken at the news.’
Shane and his wife Victoria Mary paid tribute to Sinead in an emotional social media post, telling the star they hoped she was at peace now.
Taking to social media, wife Victoria shared a snap of Sinead and Shane in their heyday and expressed their sorrow at the news.
She wrote: ‘We don’t really have words for this but we want to thank you Sinead for your love and your friendship and your compassion and your humour and your incredible music.
‘We pray that you are at peace now with your beautiful boy. Love Victoria and Shane.’
Sinead and Shane were friends for years and teamed up in the 1990s to critical acclaim, famously recording duet Haunted which stormed the charts.
Prior to her death, Sinead had revealed she was living like an ‘undead night creature’ since her son’s suicide last year in a poignant and desperate final Twitter post shortly before she died.
The star had struggled with mental health issues since her son Shane, 17, took his own life in January 2022 after escaping hospital while on suicide watch.
She said: ‘He was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul. We were one soul in two halves. He was the only person who ever loved me unconditionally’.
Thousands of well-wishers took to the streets honour the Pogues frontman, many filming the procession as they sang MacGowan’s hits
Fans reached out to touch the carriage carrying MacGowan’s body as it processed through Dublin on Friday
Many mourners were visibly emotional as the funeral procession passed, while others sang and danced in accordance with MacGowan’s partner’s wish his life be celebrated
Hundreds of people could be seen coming out in the streets of Dublin to pay their respects – it is estimated up to 30,000 people gathered along the length of the route
Up to 30,000 mourners lined the streets of Dublin to pay their final respects to MacGowan, dancing in the streets and singing his classic festive tune Fairytale of New York.
Johnny Depp, Bob Geldof and Bono were among those attending the funeral and were set to read prayers this afternoon.
The Hollywood actor waved to the crowds at Saint Mary’s of the Rosary Church in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary ahead of taking part in Shane MacGowan’s funeral.
The 60-year-old Pirates Of The Caribbean series star previously attended MacGowan’s wedding to Victoria Mary Clarke. He was dressed on Friday in a black suit, hat and wearing a scarf and dark sunglasses.
MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke was pictured in tears as she grieved before the coffin was brought into the church, draped in a Irish flag.
Earlier fans belted out his classic Christmas hit Fairytale of New York, raised a glass of Guinness and threw flowers as his funeral procession made its way through the capital.
MacGowan’s widow had wanted a celebration of her husband’s life and gave a thumbs up and smiled broadly as she saw the people of Dublin respond as she hoped.
Hollywood star Johnny Depp arrives at the funeral of Shane MacGowan on Friday afternoon
Wife of Shane MacGowan, Victoria Mary Clarke is pictured grieving as her late husband’s coffin is carried into the church
The church in Co Tipperary was packed full of mourners after MacGowan’s coffin made the 99-mile trip from Dublin
A picture of late Irish singer Shane MacGowan is displayed on the day of his funeral procession, in Tipperary, Ireland
MacGowan’s coffin is brought into the church ahead of today’s funeral service after the singer died at home last week
MacGowan’s smiling widow Victoria Mary Clarke gave a thumbs up and smiled broadly as the Pogue singer’s funeral got underway today
Hundreds of people have lined the streets to say farewell to Pogues star Shane MacGowan
It came days after MacGowan returned home after being released from hospital amid a battle with a brain condition, with his wife Victoria sharing a photo of him in his hospital bed
Liam O Maonlai, lead singer of the Hothouse Flowers, and former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, are among the early arrivals for the funeral service at Saint Mary’s of the Rosary church.
Johnny Depp is to make a heartfelt tribute to his friend and is due to read a prayer ‘Peace, Love and Forgiveness’ for the Pogues singer.
Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof is to offer the prayer ‘Poverty & Hunger’ and U2’s Bono is also reading at the service at the 800-year-old St Marys of the Rosary.
More than 30,000 people lined the streets and there was standing room only in the service. Police sealed off vast stretches of South Dublin to allow crowds to pay their respects to the star as his casket was driven through the city.
As the church is expected to be full, the service was being transmitted to local pubs and on the Internet.
MacGowan’s coffin was brought to the front of the church draped in an Irish tricolour flag and placed close to a large black and white photograph of the Pogues singer.
READ MORE: Shane MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke admits she ‘always hated’ going to funerals
Irish president Michael D Higgins was one of the mourners seen arriving for the funeral mass. Game Of Thrones star Aiden Gillen, who presented an Ivor award to Shane MacGowan in 2018, also attended the service for the late singer at Saint Mary of the Rosary Church in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
Father Pat Gilbert welcomed ‘the world’ to the funeral mass of Shane MacGowan.
‘We welcome the world of people this great man influenced, encouraged, entertained and touched,’ he said. ‘Your presence here is very important and a huge statement of the love and esteem we all have and had for this great man.’
He added: ‘We gather together his life, his loves, his lyric, and his light, and his music before this altar and to pray for the eternal rest of his soul.’
Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams gave an opening speech at the funeral, as he praised MacGowan’s ‘genius’ and said his music would live on ‘forever’. His words were greeted with applause and some cheers from those gathered.
Imelda May, Liam O Maonlai and Declan O’Rourke then performed You’re The One at Shane MacGowan’s funeral.
MacGowan’s wife, Victoria Mary Clarke then led those gathered as various possession were displayed in the church including books, records and a DVD of The Godfather.
Victoria introduced a copy of the Buddha: ‘Is this the first time a copy of the Buddha has been held up in a Catholic church?’
The hearse carrying his coffin, which was draped in the Irish tricolour, left Nenagh, Tipperary, at breakfast time to make the 99-mile journey to Dublin, where he had lived with Victoria.
Although he was born in Kent, the hellraising punk star’s childhood was in Nenagh, where his father and sister still live.
The coffin was carried in the back of a horse-drawn carriage, surrounded by police motorbike riders as a band and a piper led the cortege. A black and white picture of the singer adorned the casket.
Some mourners threw flowers in the path of the hearse as it made its way from Shelborne Greyhound Stadium to Dublin city.
His coffin was then taken to Tipperary for his public mass at Saint Mary’s of the Rosary church, which is due to begin at 3.30pm. Music from The Pogues was piped in the town of Nenagh, Co Tipperary, ahead of the funeral of Shane MacGowan.
MacGowan’s funeral procession was given a police escort, with his widow praising officers for helping to manage the crowd of fans in Dublin as the cortege makes its way to his funeral in Co Tipperary. She tweeted: ‘Thank you so much @GardaTraffic for your help today and for the escort for @ShaneMacGowan.’
A handmade sign with ‘thanks for all the fairytales Shane’ was placed on the side of the road on the way into Nenagh, where Shane MacGowan’s funeral is due to take place later on Friday afternoon.
‘RIP Shane’ was written on the side of a haybale further along the road.
Victoria Mary Clarke as the coffin arrives at the church funeral of Shane MacGowan, draped in an Irish flag
Shane MacGowan’s wife arrives at St Mary’s of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Gerry Adams arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan at Saint Mary’s of the Rosary Church
Bobby Gillespie arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan in Ireland on Friday
Liam O Maonlai, lead singer of the Hothouse Flowers, arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan
BP Fallon was among the early guests spotted arriving at MacGowan’s funeral service on Friday
Shane MacGowan’s coffin is pictured inside Saint Mary’s of the Rosary church
A single rose lay on top of MacGowan’s coffin as it was carried into the church, draped in the Irish flag
The service’s readers were revealed in the order of service
Dozens of fans were seen singing some of the star’s greatest hits, with some even dancing along as they toasted his memory in the street.
Among those who turned out to pay respects was Marguerite Jennings, 54, who travelled from Galway. She said: ‘Shane was not only a pop star, he was also a top Irish poet. His work will never be forgotten.
‘And he was really down-to-earth. I bumped into him in a confectionery shop around 20 years ago in Carrickson-upon-Shannon and he was so friendly.
‘He was buying some cigarettes. But he turned round and spoke to everybody in the shop, including the children, and made us all laugh.
‘I’ll never forget his infectious laugh. I can hear it now. It’s no trouble at all for me to come to Dublin and pay my respects. He absolutely deserves it.’
Finlay Byrne, 63, said: ‘I once spent the night drinking with him. He was such amazing company.
‘He was really erudite. And a real man of literature. He just reeled off all the books that he was reading at that time.
‘He gave me the impression that the rockstar life was just a facade.
‘He was one of us. He was really shy and he was really God-fearing. I remember him kissing his crucifix and saying a wee prayer.
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