Thousands from all walks of life throng Bray Seafront to honour singing star

by Gazette Reporter
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Thousands from all walks of life throng Bray Seafront to honour singing star

In death, as in life, Sinéad O’Connor was unique in the way she attracted people. As her cortege journeyed slowly down the Bray Strand Road on Tuesday last, it seemed that every walk of life was among the thousands who thronged to the seafront to pay their last respects to the singing and acting star.

Obviously this “beloved daughter of Ireland” who possessed  “a poet’s heart” touched the ordinary folk of the town, county and country as families and superstars alike lined the near mile-long road looking out on the Irish Sea – a vista she saw every morning for 15 years when she resided in Montebello.

Among those standing to pay their respects on her final drive past were former Blackrock neighbour Bob Geldof, U2’s Bono and Liam O’Maonlai from Hothouse Flowers. Ever since her 1990 mega-hit ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, her name was synonymous with global stardom – something she used when championing the causes of the underprivileged and downtrodden for the rest of her life.

When the hearse drew up alongside Montebello, tearful fans applauded and threw flowers at the cortege.  The coffin itself was draped in blue and pink colours. Even hours after the procession had moved on, dozens of people kept arriving with flowers, personal messages and cards, depositing them at the entrance to her former home, making the area a shrine to the late star.

Indeed, from the day news of her death hit the town, locals have seen a constant  stream of people from all over arriving to leave flowers and pray at the house, which has lain empty since the Grammy Award winners sold it two years ago.

Earlier last Tuesday,  a private ceremony was held, performed by Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, the chief Imam at the Islamic Centre of Ireland and attended by President Michael D Higgins, his wife Sabina and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. At the service, Muslim funeral prayers were  said led by Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri.

Speaking to the private gathering, before the public procession that led to a private burial, the Chief Islam stressed that Sinead  had suffered more than “her share of hardship and adversity” in her lifetime.

He went on: “Gifted with a voice that moved a generation of young people, she could reduce listeners to tears by her otherworldly resonance. One need only listen to her a cappella version of Danny Boy or the traditional Irish tune Molly Malone to know this about her gift. Sinead’s voice carried with it an undertone of hope, of finding one’s way home,” he emphasised.

Dr Umar Al-Qadri  shared his eulogy later on line saying: “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.

“Sinéad never stopped her search to know God fully, exemplifying a life marked with a deep communion with God. Gifted with a voice that moved a generation of young people, she could reduce listeners to tears by her otherworldly resonance.”

“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,” he claimed.

Only 56, Sinead was found dead in a rented apartment in Brixton  London  on July 26  by Met Police Officers.

Liam Ó MaonlaÍ, offered his own eulogy to Sinead by saying she didn’t stay within the parameters of what musicians are told to do.

“She didn’t do that,” he said.

He added: “I think love is why people are outside the house today. They loved her. I admired her.”

PHOTOS – Kenneth O’Halloran Paul Sherwood and Rolling News


Dublin Gazette – Digital Edition – August 10, 2023 – Dublin Gazette Newspapers – Dublin News, Sport and Lifestyle

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