February 24, 2024

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Shane MacGowan: Tributes to ‘Major’ at Tipperary funeral

Shane MacGowan: Tributes to ‘Major’ at Tipperary funeral

Image source, Damien Eggers/Palestinian Media

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The funeral was open to the public, but the church was so full that it could no longer accommodate all the mourners

Shane MacGowan has been hailed as a poet, lyricist, singer and pioneer at his funeral service in County Tipperary.

The iconic songwriter and lead singer of The Pogues died last week at the age of 65.

Hundreds of people gathered inside and outside the church in Nenagh to bid farewell.

Some of his famous friends participated in the ceremony, including Nick Cave, Johnny Depp and Bob Geldof.

Irish President Michael D Higgins was among the guests at St Mary of the Rosary Church in Nenagh.

It is appropriate that music plays a large role in the ceremony.

Mourners danced in the church while a group of Irish musicians played a New York fairy tale.

Siobhan McGowan told the congregation: “I think Shane would have enjoyed it, as this is a kind of farewell to my brother.”

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Victoria Mary Clarke, wife of Shane MacGowan, arrives for the funeral

Parish priest and rock music fan Father Pat Gilbert delivered the homily, describing McGowan as “our contemporary poet.”

“A poet, lyricist, singer and pioneer, Sheen reflected on life as we live it in our time, advocating acceptable standards that often seem unacceptable,” he said.

Image source, Niall Carson/PA Media

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Actor Johnny Depp reads one of the prayers of the faithful

McGowan, best known for his Christmas song Fairytale of New York, would have celebrated his 66th birthday on Christmas Day.

“He was born on the birthday of Jesus and died on the same days as Oscar Wilde and Patrick Kavanagh, and his funeral Mass is today on this great feast of Mary and Sinead [O’Connor] Father Gilbert told mourners: “It’s my birthday, everything looks good.”

McGowan had been ill for some time before his death last week.

His final home was in Dublin but his funeral is being held 160 kilometers (100 miles) away in Tipperary, near where he spent part of his childhood.

Nick Cave, who arrived a little late, performed one of MacGowan’s most famous songs, A Rainy Night in Soho.

Imelda May and Hothouse Flowers frontman Liam Ó Maonlaí led a rendition of MacGowan’s song ‘You’re the One’.

Irish singers Mundy and Camille O’Sullivan sang “Haunted” – a duet McGowan recorded with the late Sinead O’Connor, who died earlier this year.

The musical performances have been curated by Academy Award-winning songwriter Glen Hansard, frontman of The Frames.

Actor Aidan Gillen and former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams were among readers at the church.

U2 frontman Bono was unable to attend in person but sent a recorded reading to the funeral.

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Singer Nick Cave performed during the ceremony

McGowan’s widow, Victoria Mary Clarke, spoke during the offering procession, where a number of gifts were brought to the altar chosen to represent aspects of his life.

The gifts included a vinyl copy of the album Led Zeppelin II, a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) T-shirt and a copy of MacGowan’s book Crock of Gold.

Bandmates from The Pogues will sing The Parting Glass at the end of the service.

Adopted son of Dublin

Earlier, fans lined the streets of Dublin to attend his funeral procession.

The Dublin leg of his final journey began on Friday morning in the southern part of the inner city, where McGowan lived in Ballsbridge.

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Pogues fans take part in a sing-along to the Dirty Old Town ahead of Shane MacGowan’s funeral procession in central Dublin

Fans gathered in the streets of the Irish capital to bid them farewell.

They sang as musicians played some of his most famous songs, while the horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin made its way through the city.

In traditional Irish funeral fashion, some began to walk behind the procession, but the mood was celebratory rather than somber.

As the procession approached Westland Row, Artane’s band formed the Fairytale of New York band.

You could have heard a pin drop, until the chorus joined in as the crowd quietly joined in:

“And the boys in the NYPD choir still sang Galway Bay, and the bells were ringing on Christmas Day.”

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The Artane Band led the procession along Westland Row

Image source, Liam McBurney/PA Media

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Shane MacGowan’s funeral procession makes its way through the streets of Dublin

Dublin was shrouded in a thick layer of cloud as the city turned out to honor its Kent-born adopted son.

Perhaps it was appropriate because rain and weather were the subject of McGowan’s lyrics – you couldn’t spend that night in Soho without the rain, and the morning light at the Albert Bridge without the fog.

“Sheen was a poet.”

But The Pogues enjoyed worldwide fame and many fans traveled from far and wide to say goodbye.

Bruno and Pascal Kennard came from Nantes in France to attend the procession.

“Shane was a poet. I think I know all his songs,” Bruno said.

“There are a lot of emotions today,” he added. “The band playing and the singing – I have to say it broke my heart.”

At Tower Records in Dublin city centre, Pogues albums and merchandise have been sold out virtually since his death.

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Gerard O’Boyle said there was a huge buzz about live concerts featuring MacGowan

“It was the same when Sinead (O’Connor) died, there was huge interest in everything,” said Gerard O’Boyle, who works at the store.

“Some people are very excited to get it. We’ve had people on the phone wanting Haunted (MacGowan’s duet with O’Connor) but it’s hard to get.”

His band The Gorehounds backed the band during its 1980s heyday.

“They were great, it was a great night. The records are good but live – that’s where the hype was.”

Image source, Getty Images

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Shane MacGowan in the 1980s, performing with The Pogues

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