Shane MacGowan funeral: Pogues songs including Fairytale Of New York ring out as mourners say goodbye

Shane MacGowan funeral: Pogues songs including Fairytale Of New York ring out as mourners say goodbye
  • PublishedDecember 9, 2023

Mourners in Dublin gathered in the morning as Shane MacGowan’s cortege passed through the city’s streets, before travelling to Nenagh, Co Tipperary, for the funeral service, attended by stars including Johnny Depp and Nick Cave in the afternoon.

A rousing rendition of Shane MacGowan’s best-loved hit Fairytale Of New York rang out during his funeral in Co Tipperary, Ireland – as stars including Johnny Depp, Bono and Nick Cave led the tributes to the singer.

Mourners were welcomed by Father Pat Gilbert as the “people this great man influenced, encouraged, entertained and touched” gathered in a ceremony that was broadcast online and on TV for fans around the world.

He paid tribute to “a poet, lyricist, singer, trailblazer” who “reflected life as lived in our time, calling out accepted norms that oftentimes appear unacceptable”.

At the front of Saint Mary of the Rosary church in Nenagh, MacGowan‘s casket was heaped with red roses alongside a black-and-white photo of the singer when he was younger.

His widow Victoria Mary Clarke stood up at the ceremony, held near his ancestral home in Nenagh, and presented symbols marking her husband’s life, including the Crock Of Gold book of his art and lyrics, a tray his former bandmate Spider Stacy would “bash over Shane’s head” during gigs, and the couple’s wedding album.

In her eulogy, she described him as someone who “really did live so close to the edge that he seemed like he was going to fall off many times”, but said he was never interested in being “normal”.

Shane MacGowan funeral

Christmas classic Fairytale Of New York, performed by Glen Hansard and Lisa O’Neill, was one of a number of Pogues hits played during the service, providing a moment for mourners to clap and cheer as they celebrated the singer’s greatest work.

Other musical moments included The Pogues hit A Rainy Night In Soho, sung by Australian star Nick Cave; the traditional song I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day, recorded by the band in 1985, performed by the band’s bassist Cait O’Riordan and musician John Francis Flynn; and Haunted, a duet recorded by MacGowan and the late Sinead O’Connor in 1995, performed by Irish singers Mundy and Camille O’Sullivan.

Depp addressed the Saint Mary of the Rosary Church with a prayer, saying: “May we feel the pain of others, understand their need and reach out to all who suffer in any way with a continuous love that is rooted in faith and peace.”

Irish president Michael D Higgins, former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Game Of Thrones star Aidan Gillen also paid their respects at the ceremony, while a recording of a reading by U2 frontman Bono, who was unable to attend, was played.

Gerry Adams arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan at Saint Mary's of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. MacGowan, who found fame as the lead singer of London-Irish punk/folk band The Pogues, died at the age of 65 last week. Picture date: Friday December 8, 2023.
Image:Gerry Adams arrives for the funeral
Aiden Gillen arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan at Saint Mary's of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. MacGowan, who found fame as the lead singer of London-Irish punk/folk band The Pogues, died at the age of 65 last week. Picture date: Friday December 8, 2023.
Image:Aiden Gillen arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan

‘It is imprinted in my mind forever’

MacGowan’s coffin had travelled to the town from Dublin, where fans and mourners were able to pay their respects earlier in the day as the horse-drawn carriage cortege travelled through the streets of the city.

Fans sang songs including Fairytale Of New York and Dirty Old Town as the procession passed through.

Among those who turned out to pay their respects on the streets of Dublin was Aidan Grimes, 60, who described MacGowan as “an icon of Dublin”.

The funeral procession of Shane MacGowan makes its way through the streets of Dublin ahead of his funeral in Co Tipperary. The songwriter, who found fame as the lead singer of London-Irish punk/folk band The Pogues, died at the age of 65 last week. Picture date: Friday December 8, 2023.
The funeral procession of Shane MacGowan crosses Mac Mahon Bridge in Dublin ahead of his funeral in Co Tipperary. The songwriter, who found fame as the lead singer of London-Irish punk/folk band The Pogues, died at the age of 65 last week. Picture date: Friday December 8, 2023
The funeral procession of Shane MacGowan starts from outside Shelbourne Park Stadium as it makes its way through the streets of Dublin ahead of his funeral in Co Tipperary. The songwriter, who found fame as the lead singer of London-Irish punk/folk band The Pogues, died at the age of 65 last week. Picture date: Friday December 8, 2023.

“I remember the first time I saw The Pogues in the Hammersmith Odeon in 1985,” he said. “It is imprinted in my mind forever, just the madness and mayhem, the raucous nature of his singing and the music they were playing.

“Through the years he evolved into a great poet and he will be sadly missed. I met him in Dublin about 15 years ago and he was a very charming, nice, friendly man. He talked about music and his time in London.”

Kevin Sexton, from Co Fermanagh, said MacGowan opened doors for Irish people living in England.

“He made Irish people proud to be Irish at a time in London when it was a very difficult time to be Irish,” he said. “The Troubles were in full tilt. A lot of terrible things happened.

“Shane MacGowan opened doors. He introduced Irish culture and his own unique writing ability and voice and style that opened up a mix of Irish music plus rock plus punk, his whole unique persona transformed into song that enlightened the world.”

MacGowan died peacefully in November at the age of 65 after a spell in hospital.

His funeral took place on what would have been Sinead O’Connor‘s 57th birthday. The Irish singer, who was close friends with MacGowan, died earlier this year.

SOURCE: SKYNEWS

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