Thousands of mourners including Irish leaders and the country’s biggest celebrities are expected to gather to pay their respects to Shane MacGowan the iconic singer of The Pogues on Friday.
The irrepressible frontman, known for songs including “Fairytale of New York” and “Pair of Brown Eyes”, died last week aged 65. Songs by the band are already playing on loop in the town of Nenagh, where a public mass will be held on Friday at 3.30pm ahead of a private cremation.
It comes after his widow Victoria Mary Clarke said the cause of Shane’s death was pneumonia. MacGowan had suffered from a number of health issues over the years, and had recently been discharged from hospital in Dublin, where he was being treated for encephalitis.
She posted: “Shane hated funerals and he refused to go to them with a few rare exceptions.
“So it’s incredible to think that so many people want to come to his and that so many beautiful people are pouring their hearts and souls into making it magnificent and magical and memorable for him and for us who are left behind.”
WATCH: Thousands line the streets in Dublin for funeral procession
11:30 , Nicole Vassell
Who is expected to attend the funeral?
11:18 , Nicole Vassell
Shane MacGowan was well-liked not only by fans, but by his fellow performers across the entertainment industry.
Johnny Depp is expected to attend the service in Tipperary. The actor was a friend of the Pogues frontman and attended his wedding to Victoria Mary Clarke in Copenhagen in 2018.
Bono and Nick Cave were also close friends with the singer, and are expected to attend later today.
Mourners gather in Dublin for funeral procession
10:58 , Nicole Vassell
A procession for Shane MacGowan will begin in Dublin at 11am, before the funeral mass in Nenagh, Tipperary this afternoon.
Aidan Grimes, 60, is one fan paying respects to MacGowan in the Irish capital, and described the Pogues star as “an icon”.
“I remember the first time I saw The Pogues in the Hammersmith Odeon in 1985,” Grimes told PA. “It is imprinted in my mind forever, just the madness and mayhem, the raucus 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.
“I thought it was important to pay my respects. He was an icon of Dublin, just like Brendan Behan, Luke Kelly. His music will be listened to in 100 years’ time.”
Shane MacGowan’s cause of death revealed as world mourns irrepressible Pogues frontman
10:35 , Nicole Vassell
Earlier this week, MacGowan’s cause of death was reported as pneumonia.
The Pogues frontman had struggled with ill health for a significant amount of time prior to his death, and was admitted to the hospital for encephalitis last December.
Where will the funeral procession go?
09:30 , Nicole Vassell
Shane MacGowan’s funeral will take place in Nenagh, Tipperary later today.
Members of the public are expected to line the streets to catch a glimpse of the procession, which will begin at St Lotts Road in Dublin City Centre at 11am.
The procession, reported to involve a horse-drawn carriage as well as the Artane Band and a piper, will then travel through the city across MacMahon Bridge and onto Pearse Street.
It will turn onto Westland Row, onto Fenian Street and conclude at Denzille Lane at approximately 11.45am.
MacGowan’s public funeral mass, which will be live-streamed, will take place at St Mary’s of the Rosary Church in Nenagh at 3.30pm.
Irish President Michael D Higgins is expected to attend alongside stars such as Jonny Depp and Nick Cave.
Following the funeral mass, the public will also have the opportunity to pay their respects as the funeral cortege moves through Nenagh town centre from Church Road to Market Cross.
Shane MacGowan’s widow shares some words ahead of funeral
09:00 , Nicole Vassell
On Thursday, Victoria Mary Clarke, widow of MacGowan, shared some words ahead of his funeral – and noted that the Pogues star was no fan of memorials, himself.
“Shane hated funerals and he refused to go to them with a few rare exceptions,” she wrote. “So it’s incredible to think that so many people want to come to his and that so many beautiful people are pouring their hearts and souls into making it magnificent and magical and memorable for him and for us who are left behind.”
Clarke concluded her Instagram post by saying she understood anyone who didn’t want to attend her late husband’s service, as well as her hope that people remember MacGowan for his kind treatment of others.
She wrote: “If you want to remember him, the next time you see a homeless person stop and give them your time and your compassion and your respect and treat them like a brother or a sister.”
MacGowan’s widow 'spent 35 years worrying about his death’
06:30 , Sam Rkaina
Shane MacGowan’s widow, Victoria Mary Clarke, said she worried about his death for 35 years because he “pushed the boundaries of what humans can do to their bodies”.
The Pogues frontman, best known for classic Christmas hit song Fairytale Of New York, died last week at the age of 65.
The gritty song is now battling to score the coveted Christmas number one spot, a feat not achieved when it was originally released in 1987, having peaked at number two in the charts.
Clarke told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday: “I don’t think Shane would mind too much if Fairytale goes to number one.
“I don’t think it was ever that important to him, because I think that he really appreciated the fact that so many people love it and it means so much to so many people, and being number one isn’t really all about being appreciated.”
The Darkness perform tribute to Shane MacGowan in Dublin
05:45 , Barney Davis
The Darkness launched into a spine-tingling rendition of Fairy Tale of New York getting the Dublin crowd to sing along on the night before his funeral.
The rockers captioned the video shot at the Olympia Theatre: “Thanks for the sing-a-long Dublin. R.I.P. Shane MacGowan”
— The Darkness (@thedarkness) December 7, 2023
Local band honoured to perform at Shane MacGowan’s funeral in Nenagh
03:45 , Barney Davis
Popular local outfit Cronin were chosen to play Shane MacGowan’s funeral alongside international megastar Nick Cave.
The Longford band have a long relationship with the late Pogues frontman, having joined forces on RTE’s Late Late Show.
Singer Mick Cronin said the memories of recording with Shane and playing at festivals will always stay with them.
“We have lost a dear friend, an idol, a collaborator, a band member, a Fenian, a genius and a proud Irishman,” he said.
Fairytale in New York could be set for Irish Number One
02:30 , Barney Davis
The Pogues biggest hit could top the charts in Ireland after a fierce campaign launched when it was realised Fairytale was being beaten to No 1 in the UK by Wham and Mariah Carey.
Shane’s widow Victoria Mary Clarke had shared the Irish Sun front page on her Instagram Stories helping a late push that put the Christmas classic 700 units ahead of Noah Kahan in the Irish charts.
An Irish chart insider told The Irish Sun: “Pogues fans have embraced downloading.
“It’s a Fairytale comeback that would put a smile on Shane’s face.”
Bono set to miss MacGowan’s funeral due to Las Vegas show
01:45 , Barney Davis
After much speculation the Irish Sun is reporting that U2 megastar Bono will be unable to attend Shane MacGowan’s final farewell in Tipperary, as U2 are due to perform a sold-out Las Vegas show that same night.
A source said: “U2 are due to play Las Vegas on Friday night and it’s sold-out, there is no way the lads could make it back for Shane’s funeral unfortunately.
“They are very saddened by this. Shane was a great friend of the lads, Bono and The Edge were among the few allowed in to see him. They’ll honour him in their own way.”
Nick Cave and Johnny Depp are expected to be at the Public Mass in Nenagh.
Plans for Shane MacGowan’s funeral procession through Dublin and on to Nenagh
Thursday 7 December 2023 23:51 , Barney Davis
The Pogues singer’s coffin is scheduled to arrive by hearse at Ringsend at 10.30am on Friday and once there it will be transferred to a horse-drawn carriage.
At 11am, the carriage is due to be led by the Artane Band and a lone piper along South Lotts Road, over McMahon Bridge and Grand Canal Dock, and along Pearse Street.
It will be followed by the chief mourners, led by the singer’s widow Victoria Mary Clarke, in a procession.
His personal driver and former pub landlord Philly Ryan will be in the hearse.
The hearse and family cars will then leave Dublin for Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
The funeral Mass is to be held at 3.30pm in St Mary of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, close to the homeplace of MacGowan’s mother, Therese.
With a high turnout expected, the funeral mass is to be broadcast live via the official Shane MacGowan Facebook page and across pubs in the area.
Nick Cave pens poignant tribute to ‘greatest songwriter of his generation’
Thursday 7 December 2023 20:30 , Barney Davis
Nick Cave, who has been confirmed as playing a song at the Public Mass for Shane MacGowan on Friday, penned a poignant tribute to the “beautiful and damaged” singer.
He recalled a tribute gig to Shane on his 60th birthday in Dublin on his Red Hand Files blog.
He wrote: “Shane’s wife, Victoria, then pushed Shane on in a wheelchair and, well, I know I should be talking about the pure unbridled genius of Shane MacGowan and how he was the greatest songwriter of his generation, with the most terrifyingly beautiful of voices — all of which is true — but what struck me at that moment was the extraordinary display of love for this man, so powerful and deep, that poured forth from the audience.
“Shane was not revered just for his manifold talents but also loved for himself alone. A beautiful and damaged man, who embodied a kind of purity and innocence and generosity and spiritual intelligence unlike any other.
“Sinéad once said of Shane, ‘He is an angel. An actual angel’. Whether or not this is the case, who’s to say? But Shane was blessed with an uncommon spirit of goodness and a deep sense of what is true, which was strangely amplified in his brokenness, his humanness. We can say of him most certainly, ‘he was beloved on the earth,’ and Sinéad too — truly beloved and greatly missed, both.”
Nick Cave plays an impromptu version of 'Into My Arms' at Claridges in London, filmed by his wife Susie pic.twitter.com/W0uIHGOv3m
— Far Out Magazine (@FarOutMag) December 6, 2023
Councillor organising Nenagh’s tribute to Shane MacGowan saying he is struggling to get his own wife a ticket to church mass
Thursday 7 December 2023 19:30 , Barney Davis
Independent Cllr Séamie Morris who has been busy organising road closures and The Pogues music pumping through the Nenagh town centre gave the Independent a tour of Shane MacGowan’s favourite pub Philly Ryan’s.
He told The Independent: “The town has been mucking in together. The council workers have been working so hard to make the town look sparkling.
“To get into the church will be nigh on impossible I’m struggling to get my own wife a seat. The Mass will hopefully be streamed in all the pubs nearby which would be a lovely atmosphere.”
He added there will be plans to honour the singer with a mural or statue in town to recognise his incredible legacy.
“Even Bruce Springsteen says he is a genius some say Johnny Depp has been in town for the last couple of days. He will always be remembered here and his name will live on.
“As a musician and a wordsmith. It is a huge loss to the entire world. I’ve heard his music play in bars across Kathmandu.
“He had the Irish immigrant experience coming from England. If he lived here his whole life he could have ended up working on a building site. He needed that journey to make him who he is.”
Shane MacGowan’s widow shares emotional post ahead of husband’s funeral
Thursday 7 December 2023 17:30 , Barney Davis
The irrepressible Anglo-Irish frontman, known for songs including “Fairytale of New York” and “The Old Main Drag”, died last week aged 65.
His wife said the cause of his death was pneumonia.
Shane MacGowan’s favourite bar stool remains empty at his pub just metres away from his resting place
Thursday 7 December 2023 17:00 , Sam Rkaina
Philly Ryan’s, the pub where you could most likely find Shane MacGowan having a Guinness, has left his favourite stool empty the night before his funeral.
Regulars shared memories of MacGowan bursting into song unexpectedly from this spot. It is a normal day with the snooker on a big screen and the Christmas tree lights blinking.
It is the calm before the storm where thousands are expected to descend on the town and the pubs to pay their respects on Friday.
Philly Ryan, the former landlord who will also act as MacGowan ’s undertaker, said the singer approached him in 2017 to talk about his funeral at his wife Victoria’s birthday party.
MacGowan ’s body lies just over the road from his favourite pub.
Allstar lineup announced for Shane MacGowan’s funeral
Thursday 7 December 2023 16:45 , Sam Rkaina
Music will feature strongly at Shane MacGowan’s mass, which gets underway at 3.30pm on Friday after his casket is driven around Dublin.
Nick Cave, who called MacGowan the “greatest songwriter of his generation”, will be among those performing at the public mass at St Mary’s of the Rosary Church in Nenagh.
Singers at the emotional ceremony will be Glen Hansard, Finbarr Furey, Cave and Lisa O’Neill.
For those unable to squeeze into the church the ceremony will be streamed live around pubs in the town with mourners encouraged to raise a glass to The Pogues singer.
Schools to close early as all eyes on Nenagh for Shane MacGowan’s funeral
Thursday 7 December 2023 22:59 , Barney Davis
Local schools in Nenagh will close early on Friday as the world’s greatest songwriters and global media descend on the rural town ahead of Shane MacGowan’s funeral.
Primary schools will shut at 12noon while the secondary schools will close at 12.30pm it was announced.
The schools were asked to consider finishing early as traffic restrictions will be in place from 8am.
Nenagh locals have been trying to switch shifts to get the time off from work to join in the celebration of MacGowan’s life.
The iconic singer’s funeral mass will take place at 3.30pm at St Mary’s of the Rosary Church with Father Pat Gilbert overseeing the service.
Shane MacGowan’s family thank public for support
Thursday 7 December 2023 23:04 , Barney Davis
The family of Shane MacGowan issued a statement late on Thursday, saying they are “very grateful for the affection and messages of condolence they have received since his passing”.
“In order for as many people as possible to have a chance to say their own slán to Shane, his funeral procession in Dublin, will be followed by a funeral mass in Nenagh which will be broadcast live, and then a final farewell procession through Nenagh town.
The 65-year-old singer passed away on November 30 following a battle with pneumonia. His wife of five years and long-time partner Victoria Mary Clarke and his family were by his bedside.
Tomorrow will be a very sad day when we bid our final goodbyes to @ShaneMacGowan.
But his legacy stands tall as the Empire State and broad as his beloved River Shannon. His poignant, timeless songs will go on being discovered and loved by generations to come ❤️#ShaneMacGowan pic.twitter.com/WuZWBCPv0Z
— Richard Balls (@RichardBalls) December 7, 2023