Home Lifestyle Entertainment Crowds gather in Bray to say goodbye to Sinéad O’Connor

Crowds gather in Bray to say goodbye to Sinéad O’Connor

Crowds of people gathered outside her former home to say goodbye to the late singer Sinead O’Connor.

08/08/2023 Dublin Ireland. The coffin in the hearse pass by a large crowd of people gather near outside Sinead’O Connor’s former home in Bray on the morning of her funeral. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/© RollingNews.ie

The singer, who passed away suddenly on 26 July, was remembered as a “beloved daughter of Ireland” with “a poet’s heart” whose “voice moved a generation of young people” after her funeral, where U2 star Bono and Bob Geldof were among the mourners.

The life of the Irish singer was celebrated at a private ceremony, before the funeral cortege travelled past her former home in Bray, Co Wicklow so fans could pay their respects before a private burial.

President Michael Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were also in attendance.

The President said in a statement: “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 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.

“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.”

At the ceremony Muslim funeral prayers were led by Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, an Islamic scholar and Chief Imam at the Islamic Centre of Ireland, who met the star in 2018.

In a eulogy he shared online after the ceremony, Dr Umar Al-Qadri said: “The more she sang and spoke about her own pain, as well as about the pervasive sins in society that she witnessed, the more her voice and her words resonated with listeners and touched their hearts. Sinead never stopped her search to know God fully, exemplifying a life marked with a deep communion with God.

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“Gifted with a voice that moved a generation of young people, she could reduce listeners to tears by her otherworldly resonance.”

He added: “I know that peoples of all faiths throughout the world will be praying for this beloved daughter of Ireland, among them will be countless Muslims praying for their sister in faith and humanity.

“Sinead’s voice carried with it an undertone of hope, of finding one’s way home. The Irish people have long found solace in song from the sufferings of this lower abode, and Sinead was no exception, and in sharing that solace, she brought joy to countless people the world over.”

He continued: “May her family and loved ones find solace in the outpouring of love from the corners of this earth for this unique daughter of Ireland who moved so many hearts with her mighty voice and unflinching honesty as an artist, poet, and human being.

“Sinead had a poet’s heart and, I believe, would share with us today the sentiments of the poet, Rumi when he said: ‘This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief’.”

Roads were closed so fans could line the streets to pay their respects as the hearse bearing O’Connor’s coffin passed by her former home on the seafront.

As it stopped outside the property, Montebello, where she lived for 15 years, fans applauded and threw flowers.

The coffin itself was covered in blue and pink flowers.

A Volkswagen camper van decorated with the Pride flag and the Rastafarian flag drove in front of the hearse, with O’Connor’s songs playing from speakers mounted on the roof.

Fans started gathering early outside the home to wait for the cortege to pass by.

Many laid flowers and handwritten notes, thanking O’Connor for sharing her voice and her music.

One note said: “You are forever in my heart.”

A pink chair was placed outside the pink-framed conservatory of the house, with pink flowers, candles and a photo of the singer placed at the base of the chair.

A heart-shaped floral bouquet featured a picture of the star and two Irish flags.

One sign left at the wall of the property listed causes that the singer had expressed support for, including welcoming refugees.

It read: “Where words fail, music speaks.”

A neighbour was also seen putting candles on the wall that separated the two properties.

Since O’Connor’s death on 26 July, people have been leaving flowers and paying their respects at the house, which the singer sold in 2021 and now lies empty.

The Grammy Award-winner was found unresponsive by police at her south-east London home at the age of 56.

A tribute to O’Connor was briefly visible from the sky on a hillside near Bray on Sunday. The white letters were 30ft long and said “Eire” and “Sinéad”, with a heart between them.

A statement on Sunday on behalf of O’Connor’s family said: “Sinéad loved living in Bray and the people in it. 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.”

O’Connor, who was propelled to international stardom in 1990 with her version of Nothing Compares 2 U, led a turbulent life and was known for taking fierce and often controversial stances on social and political issues.

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