Fans turn out in their thousands to send Christy off on a high note

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

The words of one of Aslan’s greatest hits, ‘Crazy World’ were never more apt than on Saturday last when a nation held its breath as Christy Dignam made his final journey through Finglas to his funeral service.

As neighbours and fans lined the streets, the funeral cortege commenced from the junction of Tolka Valley Road and Cardiffsbridge Road and proceeded down Cardiffsbridge Road, past Coláiste Íde before continuing on through Finglas to pause at St Fergal’s Boys National School, where the late Christy developed a love of music and song. The cortege proceeded on through Patrick’s Well Place and Wellmount Road before pausing opposite Erin’s Isle GAA Club where a touching video tribute was played.

Here a large screen was erected and tributes to the late singer were aired. Not surprisingly, it was TV and radio presenter Ryan Tubridy who spoke on the video broadcast. The former Late Late MC spoke of the many times the late Christy had appeared on Ireland’s popular Friday night chat show.

He recalled Christy appearances with his fellow band members from Aslan, with Dublin songsters and friends Finbarr Fury and Imelda May among others.

The RTÉ presenter described him a ‘loving’ man. He recognised the singer’s ability to reach out and touch viewers hearts – people embraced his story, his life’s experience and said: ‘He’s one of ours. And he will be missed.’

Rapturous applause quickly disintegrated, and a minute’s silence was called, as the huge crowd stayed silent in respect of their Finglas son.

Celebrities were lining up last week to pay tribute to the Finglas man who lost a long and tough battle against rare cancers, amyloidosis among them.

From Uachtarán na hEireann, Michael D Higgins to U2’s Bono, politicians and celebrities alike praised the Aslan frontman. What was it that made Christy Dignam so endearing to the general public, that went way beyond his native Finglas, his home nest of Dublin?

Perhaps families across Dublin’s sprawling city, and across the country could identify with the story of a young Christy Dignam. Born in 1960, his teenage years in the late ‘70s and his advancement into the ‘80s is a familiar story to many. A drug culture was insidiously taking root in Dublin and spreading its vicious grip across Irish society. He spoke in later years of child abuse that he felt was the cause of his growing heroin addiction.

‘I have fallen down so many times
Don’t know why
Don’t know where
Don’t care less it’s all the same’

Was it the heartfelt story, so often experienced – the city boy strangled by the vice-grip of drugs. Christy appeared vanquished and defeated only to rise again like the Phoenix and recreate himself. Aslan were reunited and enjoyed a thorough national comeback.

While a private ceremony and cremation was held with close friends and family only in attendance, Christy’s daughter Kiera delivered an emotional and tender eulogy to her father.

She thanked the thousands who’d left messages of support in the previous days, and to all who had turned out to bid farewell to her father.

 “I actually started writing this in March,” she said. “I think I’ve been writing it for the past 10 years!” But Christy defied the laws of medicine and repeatedly rallied and intermittingly returned to fair health – so much so that his adoring daughter began to wonder if she’d ever have to deliver his farewell tribute!

She was, however, she said, forever grateful for the additional and unexpected years, for the holidays and family days they got to celebrate together.

She spoke of Christy as a father and grandfather, and how even after a gig, he enjoyed staying awake to do a night feed! And how he cried with pride when she sang, ever the proud, devoted father.

Never could he have had a more attentive, contained and mesmerised audience along the way to Glasnevin Cemetery, when the final curtains were drawn and Christy Dignam, singer, songwriter, husband, father and grandfather left the stage.

It was a fitting farewell for a man who endeared himself to so many, far beyond the boundaries of his musical career.

‘Now your party’s over…All the crowd has gone…’

 -Christy Dignam, 1960-2023, rest in peace, amen.

Photo: Sam Boal/

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