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Imelda May marks Sinead O’Connor’s birthday on day of Shane MacGowan’s funeral

Mourners lined the streets of Dublin to say goodbye to the Pogues frontman at a public procession on Friday ahead of his funeral (Michael Walter/PA)
Mourners lined the streets of Dublin to say goodbye to the Pogues frontman at a public procession on Friday ahead of his funeral (Michael Walter/PA)

Irish singer Imelda May has sent birthday wishes to the late Sinead O’Connor on the day of Shane MacGowan’s funeral saying “what a day for Ireland”.

O’Connor, who died in July and was a close friend of May and MacGowan, would have marked her 57th birthday on Friday.

Months after mourners lined the streets of Bray, in Co Wicklow, to pay their respects to the Nothing Compares 2 U singer, they returned in their hundreds on Friday as the coffin of Pogues frontman MacGowan was carried through Dublin in a glass horse-drawn carriage.

Best known for the festive hit Fairytale Of New York with his London-Irish punk/folk band, MacGowan died at the age of 65 last week.

To mark the day, May posted a photo to Instagram of her alongside O’Connor and MacGowan’s widow Victoria Mary Clarke which was taken at his 60th birthday celebrations.

“Happy Birthday Sinead. We send Shane off to join you today,” she wrote alongside it.

“What a day for Ireland. How blessed we were to have had such giants in our midst.”

She added that she was sending “all my love” to O’Connor and MacGowan’s families and signed it off with “gra mor” which translates to “big love”.

Clarke, who travelled in a car in the cortege for her husband, was among those to like the post.

She also marked what would have been O’Connor’s birthday with a photo posted to X, formerly Twitter, which showed her former husband singing alongside the singer, wearing a red-and-white festive outfit.

At the funeral of MacGowan in Saint Mary of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, the priest also mentioned that it was O’Connor’s birthday.

Fr Pat Gilbert said: “Born on the birthday of Jesus and passing on the same days as Oscar Wilde and Patrick Kavanagh, and his funeral celebration mass today on this great feast of Mary and Sinead’s (O’Connor) birthday.

“Something seems right about all of this.”

The funeral procession of Shane MacGowan after crossing Mac Mahon Bridge in Dublin
Mourners lined the streets of Dublin to say goodbye to Shane MacGowan at a public procession ahead of his funeral (Niall Carson/PA)

MacGowan was born on Christmas Day.

May also paid tribute to MacGowan following his death, thanking him for sharing his “glorious talents”.

In a long post to Instagram, she wrote: “Thank you for opening your heart and sharing with us your glorious talents. We’ll never see the likes of again.

“Your genius songwriting and poetry weaved of words and wisdom that made mortals feel seen, heard and moved from stony stoicism to quiet tears.”

She was joined by a host of famous faces in remembering the Irish punk, including MacGowan’s former bandmate Spider Stacy, Australian musician and actor Nick Cave, singer Billy Bragg and The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess.