In a poignant and heartfelt ceremony, hundreds of devoted fans and admirers have gathered to bid a final farewell to the legendary musician Shane MacGowan.
The air was thick with emotion as supporters from all walks of life joined hands to celebrate the life and legacy of the iconic musician.
MacGowan, known for his distinctive voice and poetic songwriting, passed away on Thursday, November 30 at the age of 65 after a long battle with viral encephalitis.
MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke took to Instagram to announce his passing, calling the iconic rocker “the most beautiful soul”.
“I don’t know how to say this so I am just going to say it. Shane who will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel and the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese,” she said at the time.
“I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures.
“There’s no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world. Thank you thank you thank you thank you for your presence in this world you made it so very bright and you gave so much joy to so many people with your heart and soul and your music. You will live in my heart forever.
“Rave on in the garden all wet with rain that you loved so much. You meant the world to me.”
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In the aftermath of MacGowan’s passing, a heartfelt tribute unfolded on the streets of Dublin, where hundreds of locals lined the thoroughfares. Their voices, united in song, as they belted out The Pogues’ Christmas anthem Fairytale of New York, which had become synonymous with the iconic musician.
As the procession continued, MacGowan’s horse-drawn hearse made its way toward the quaint southern town of Nenagh, the cherished hometown of the singer’s late mother.
Friends such as actor Johnny Depp and singer Nick Cave led tributes to the late singer, sharing memories and experiences that honoured the lasting impact MacGowan had on the world.
After his family danced up a storm in the church to Irish singers Glen Hansard and Lisa O’Neill’s rendition of Fairytale of New York, MacGowan’s sister Siobhan said “Shane would have enjoyed that”.
“That’s some send-off for my brother,” she told Reuters.
Also in attendance were some of MacGowan’s Pogues’ bandmates who sang The Parting Glass.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins joined in the expression of grief, alongside attendees such as actor Aiden Gillen, former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, and U2 vocalist Bono, who conveyed prayers and readings through a recorded message during the extended two-and-a-half-hour service.
Musician Roland Conroy reflected on the emotional day and MacGowan himself who “meant everything” to him.
“Shane MacGowan, man, meant everything to me,” Conroy said.
“Irish punk rocker, he embodied everything: James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Butler-Yeats. A poet, just (brings) a tear to the eye. It’s a sad day.”
Born December 25, 1957, in Pembury, Kent, MacGowan burst onto the music scene in 1976 at a performance from The Clash in which he was photographed covered in blood following an injury to his earlobe. The incident preceded his involvement with punk band the Nipple Erectors (later ‘The Nips’), featuring bassist Shanne Bradley.
The turning point in MacGowan’s career arrived in 1982 with the founding of The Pogues, where he seamlessly blended his punk roots with a traditional Irish sound. His songs, deeply influenced by Irish nationalism, history, and the experiences of the Irish diaspora, resonated globally. The pinnacle was the critically acclaimed album If I Should Fall from Grace with God in 1988, which included timeless classics such as Fairytale of New York.
Despite a controversial departure from The Pogues in 1991, MacGowan’s musical journey endured. Forming Shane MacGowan and The Popes, collaborating with Lou Reed, and reuniting with The Pogues in 2001, he continued to leave a lasting mark on the music world.