Vigils are being held in Ireland and abroad in memory of Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, also known as Shuhada’ Sadaqat, who passed away at the age of 56 on Wednesday, July 26.
Last night, a tribute held in Dublin City Centre was attended by fans who commemorated her legacy as an acclaimed musician and political activist. Those in attendance created a memorial in her honour by placing flowers and photos in front of the Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum. Together, the crowd sang two of her most famous songs, Black Boys On Mopeds and Nothing Compares 2 U.
London hosted an event held at the London Irish Centre to honour “her impact on the Irish community and beyond”. The free, ticketed event sold out prior to 8pm. It offered music, readings of O’Connor’s written work, and speakers reflecting on her achievements. London-based Irish harpist, Lisa Canny, performed and the crowd cheered when she described O’Connor as: “the original hysterical woman, but in the best way, the woman who talked back”.
Communities across the world have been in mourning since the Metropolitan Police shared that O’Connor was found unresponsive on Wednesday morning at a residential address in London. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and authorities are not describing her death as suspicious.
After news of her death was announced, President Michael D Higgins described Sinéad as: “one of our greatest and most gifted composers,” adding: “Her contribution joins those great achievements of Irish women who contributed to our lives, its culture and its history in their own unique but unforgettable ways. May her spirit find the peace she sought in so many different ways.”
Tánaiste Micheál Martin described her death as devastating, saying: “One of our greatest musical icons, and someone deeply loved by the people of Ireland and beyond. Our heart goes out to her children, her family, friends and all who knew and loved her.”
Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin leader, said O’Connor was: “an iconic musical talent” and a “voice of spellbinding beauty gone all too soon. She was a once-off.”
Vigil for Sinéad O’Connor, Friday, 6pm, Fairview footbridge, Dublin. pic.twitter.com/43liLL8uOl
— Una Mullally (@UnaMullally) July 27, 2023
The Dublin performer is best known worldwide for her song Nothing Compares 2 U which was written by Prince. The song became a number-one Billboard Music Awards single in 1990. She went on to earn three Grammy nominations and was named Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine in 1991.
O’Connor was a fierce LGBTQ+ ally who fearlessly advocated for the rights of women, victims of child sexual abuse, and marginalised groups.
A former employee of TENI shared that O’Connor donated her clothes to trans youth. She also wore a Dublin AIDS Alliance t-shirt on The Late Late Show in 1990, and HIV Ireland acknowledged her solidarity with people living with HIV and expressed gratitude for her courage and honesty.
We are incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Irish music legend, activist, and proud ally of people living with HIV and impacted by AIDS, Sinead O’Connor. A profoundly talented artist and a trailblazer in every sense. We remember her talent, her courage, and her honesty. RIP https://t.co/YtHkDJXnVI
— HIV Ireland (@HIVIreland) July 26, 2023
O’Connor described herself as a “protest singer” and she will be remembered for her bold and courageous activism. In 1992, in an act of protest against child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II during a live production of Saturday Night Live.
Further vigils and gatherings will be organised across Ireland in honour of Sinéad O’Connor in the coming days. On Friday, Pennylane bar in Dublin is hosting a tribute, inviting everyone to pay their respects and: “gather together and listen to her powerful music throughout the night as we mourn this incredible loss.”
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The Rosa Socialist Feminist Movement is also organising an event in Barnardo Square, next to Dublin City Hall at 1pm on Sunday, July 30.
A full moon event previously scheduled to be held at The Hollow in the Phoenix Park on August 1 will now include a tribute to O’Connor. The event will entail live music, performances, and speeches from Ragin Spice, The Wild Geeze, Ian Lynham, eris, Ollie Bell, Lily Boss, and Saturn WölfflöW and it will run from 7pm to 11pm.
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