Shane MacGowan’s funeral was held today, Friday, December 8, after the Pogues frontman died on Thursday, November 30 at the age of 65.
On Friday morning, MacGowan’s coffin, draped in an Irish flag, was brought through Dublin City Centre in a horse-drawn carriage led by the Artane Band and a piper as throngs of people lined the streets to pay their respects to the talented Irish musician.
MacGowan's wife Victoria Mary Clarke shared a video of the Dublin procession on X:
After the Dublin procession, MacGowan’s funeral cortege made its way to Nenagh, Co Tipperary for a funeral Mass at St. Mary of the Rosary, the same church where the funeral for MacGowan’s mother Therese was held in 2017.
Speaking from the altar that was adorned with portraits of MacGowan as well as musical instruments, Fr Pat Gilbert said: "We welcome the world of people this great man influenced, encouraged, entertained, and touched.
"Your presence here is very important and a huge statement of the love and esteem we all have and had for this great man."
During the Mass, Clarke led the presentation of symbols reflective of MacGowan's life - several music vinyls, a Tipperary flag, a hurley, books by James Joyce, Flann O'Brien, and JP Donleavy, a wedding photo, a box of Barry's tea, as well as a bodhran and a keyboard.
Gerry Adams, the former President of Sinn Fein, did the first reading during the Mass, while Brian Corscadden, MacGowan's former Pogues' bandmate, did the second reading. Dave Coon, MacGowan's father-in-law, did another reading, as did Irish actor Aiden Gillen and U2 frontman Bono.
“You are the measurer of our dreams”.
Go raibh maith agat Shane MacGowan.
Slan a chara 💔 pic.twitter.com/Zy3N2556AA— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) December 8, 2023
The prayers of the faithful were read by Johnny Depp, Sarah Leahy, Jess Ryan, Zakiti Dlamini, Orla Clarke, Liam O'Maonlai, and Bob Geldof.
The funeral Mass featured poignant musical performances of some of MacGowan's biggest hits - Imelda May and Declan O'Rourke performed "You're The One," Mundy and Camille O'Sullivan performed "Haunted," Nick Cave sang "A Rainy Night in Soho," and Cait O'Riordan and John Francis Flynn performed "I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day."
Traditional Irish folk songs were also played through the Mass, while Glen Hansard and Lisa O'Neill led an enthusiastic performance of "Fairytale of New York" after communion.
A rousing performance of 'Fairytale of New York' was given by Glen Hansard and Lisa O'Neill at the funeral of Shane MacGowan in Nenagh, Co Tipperary. The performance was greeted by cheers inside and outside the church | https://t.co/a1x3oRVRMz pic.twitter.com/BOGOP1wjLZ— RTÉ News (@rtenews) December 8, 2023
During his homily, Fr Gilbert remarked: "Shane and the Pogues made it international and cool to play the tin whistle, the banjo, or the accordion. And for a young fella who was after struggling to learn the button accordion, that was salvation."
He added: "As Brendan Behan did in prose, Shane MacGowan did in poetry. The raw, vibrant, energetic, earthly, soul-filled expression gave us hope and heart and hankering."
He described MacGowan as a "modern-day bard, social commentator, songsmith, son, brother, husband, and friend."
Fr Gilbert noted: "Born on the birthday as Jesus and passing the same day as Oscar Wilde and Patrick Kavanagh, and his funeral celebration Mass today on this great feast of Mary, and of course it's also Sinead's [O'Connor] birthday, something seems right about all of this."
He invoked a line from The Pogues' song "The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn" - "Then they'll take you to Cloughprior and shove you in the ground / But you'll stick your head back out and shout 'We'll have another round'" - which was met with rapturous applause.
At the end of his homily, Fr Gilbert said: "Just remember, death is not the end. Your life gave growth to so many of us, Shane. And your bright light gave salvation to our often dark and empty skies."
At the end of the Mass, Shane's sister and Shane's wife each shared warm, personal sentiments about him.
Concluding the Mass, MacGowan's former Pogues bandmates Jem Finer, Terry Woods, Spider Stacy, and James Fearnley played the Irish song "The Parting Glass."
A private cremation was due to follow the funeral Mass on Friday.