Thousands of fans, family and friends have gathered today, August 8, in Bray, Co Wicklow to bid their final farewell to Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor on the day of her funeral. Huge crowds lined the seafront awaiting the funeral cortege with flowers, banners, candles and Irish and rainbow flags.
The ‘Nothing Compares to U’ star was found unresponsive on July 26 at a residential address in London and was pronounced dead at the scene. After news of her death broke out, tributes from friends and fans poured in on social media, with vigils and gatherings held in Ireland and abroad to honour her memory.
This morning, the private funeral service of Sinéad O’Connor took place in Bray, with the following procession starting at the Harbour Bar end of Strand Road. It then continued past her former home, Montebello, for one kilometre to the opposite end of the seafront.
O’Connor’s family had previously invited people to pay their respects on the seafront, where fans and friends showed up in great numbers. A campervan donned with rainbow flags and playing the singer’s music passed in front of the hearse, where her body rested while the crowd gathered around.
“Sinead loved living in Bray and the people in it,” a statement previously issued by the family said. “With this procession, her family would like to acknowledge the outpouring of love for her from the people of Co Wicklow and beyond, since she left last week to go to another place.”
— Dave Keegan (@davepaulkeegan) August 8, 2023
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife were among the attendees at the funeral service. In a statement released ahead of the event, President Higgins said: “The outpouring of grief and appreciation of the life and work of Sinéad O’Connor demonstrates the profound impact which she had on the Irish people.
“The unique contribution of Sinéad involved the experience of a great vulnerability combined with a superb, exceptional level of creativity that she chose to deliver through her voice, her music and her songs,” the President continued.
“The expression of both, without making any attempt to reduce the one for the sake of the other, made her contribution unique – phenomenal in music terms, but of immense heroism.”
He concluded, “However, achieving this came from the one heart and the one body and the one life, which extracted an incredible pain, perhaps one too much to bear. That is why all those who are seeking to make a fist of their life, combining its different dimensions in their own way, can feel so free to express their grief at her loss.”
— Adrian+Shane (@AdrianAndShane) August 8, 2023
Also speaking ahead of the procession, Irish musician Liam Ó Maonlaí, of The Hothouse Flowers, commented that Sinéad O’Connor was “up against it from the get-go”.
“The career-minded (musicians) who stay within a parameter of what they’re told to do, they find a formula and they stick to it,” Ó Maonlaí said. “She didn’t do that.”
— Radio Nova 100 (@radionova100) August 8, 2023
When asked why he thought so many people showed up on the day of her funeral, the musician said that “everyone has their own reasons”. He then added, “I think it’s love is why people are outside the house today. They loved her. I admired her.”
“What can I say? Thank you Sinéad,” said Gemma Byrne, who attended the procession. “We grew up with her. She said what we felt but didn’t have the courage to say. She took the shit for it.”
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