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Shane MacGowan funeral - latest: Thousands to line Dublin streets to give Pogues singer perfect send off

Thousands of mourners including Irish leaders and the country’s biggest celebrities are expected to gather to pay their respects to Shane MacGowan the iconic singer of The Pogues on Friday.

The irrepressible frontman, known for songs including “Fairytale of New York” and “Pair of Brown Eyes”, died last week aged 65. Songs by the band are already playing on loop in the town of Nenagh, where a public mass will be held on Friday at 3.30pm ahead of a private cremation.

It comes after his widow Victoria Mary Clarke said the cause of Shane’s death was pneumonia. MacGowan had suffered from a number of health issues over the years, and had recently been discharged from hospital in Dublin, where he was being treated for encephalitis.

She posted: “Shane hated funerals and he refused to go to them with a few rare exceptions.

“So it’s incredible to think that so many people want to come to his and that so many beautiful people are pouring their hearts and souls into making it magnificent and magical and memorable for him and for us who are left behind.”

Key Points

Nick Cave pens poignant tribute to ‘greatest songwriter of his generation’

20:30 , Barney Davis

Nick Cave, who has been confirmed as playing a song at the Public Mass for Shane MacGowan on Friday, penned a poignant tribute to the “beautiful and damaged” singer.

He recalled a tribute gig to Shane on his 60th birthday in Dublin on his Red Hand Files blog.

He wrote: “Shane’s wife, Victoria, then pushed Shane on in a wheelchair and, well, I know I should be talking about the pure unbridled genius of Shane MacGowan and how he was the greatest songwriter of his generation, with the most terrifyingly beautiful of voices — all of which is true — but what struck me at that moment was the extraordinary display of love for this man, so powerful and deep, that poured forth from the audience.

“Shane was not revered just for his manifold talents but also loved for himself alone. A beautiful and damaged man, who embodied a kind of purity and innocence and generosity and spiritual intelligence unlike any other.

“Sinéad once said of Shane, ‘He is an angel. An actual angel’. Whether or not this is the case, who’s to say? But Shane was blessed with an uncommon spirit of goodness and a deep sense of what is true, which was strangely amplified in his brokenness, his humanness. We can say of him most certainly, ‘he was beloved on the earth,’ and Sinéad too — truly beloved and greatly missed, both.”

Councillor organising Nenagh’s tribute to Shane MacGowan saying he is struggling to get his own wife a ticket to church mass

19:30 , Barney Davis

Independent Cllr Séamie Morris who has been busy organising road closures and The Pogues music pumping through the Nenagh town centre gave the Independent a tour of Shane MacGowan’s favourite pub Philly Ryan’s.

He told The Independent: “The town has been mucking in together. The council workers have been working so hard to make the town look sparkling.

“To get into the church will be nigh on impossible I’m struggling to get my own wife a seat. The Mass will hopefully be streamed in all the pubs nearby which would be a lovely atmosphere.”

He added there will be plans to honour the singer with a mural or statue in town to recognise his incredible legacy.

“Even Bruce Springsteen says he is a genius some say Johnny Depp has been in town for the last couple of days. He will always be remembered here and his name will live on.

“As a musician and a wordsmith. It is a huge loss to the entire world. I’ve heard his music play in bars across Kathmandu.

“He had the Irish immigrant experience coming from England. If he lived here his whole life he could have ended up working on a building site. He needed that journey to make him who he is.”

 (Barney Davis)
(Barney Davis)

Shane MacGowan’s widow shares emotional post ahead of husband’s funeral

17:30 , Barney Davis

Victoria Mary Clarke, wife of late Pogues singer Shane MacGowan, has reflected on her relationship with the musician ahead of his funeral on Friday.

The irrepressible Anglo-Irish frontman, known for songs including “Fairytale of New York” and “The Old Main Drag”, died last week aged 65.

His wife said the cause of his death was pneumonia.

Shane MacGowan’s favourite bar stool remains empty at his pub just metres away from his resting place

17:00 , Sam Rkaina

Philly Ryan’s, the pub where you could most likely find Shane MacGowan having a Guinness, has left his favourite stool empty the night before his funeral.

Regulars shared memories of MacGowan bursting into song unexpectedly from this spot. It is a normal day with the snooker on a big screen and the Christmas tree lights blinking.

It is the calm before the storm where thousands are expected to descend on the town and the pubs to pay their respects on Friday.

Philly Ryan, the former landlord who will also act as MacGowan ’s undertaker, said the singer approached him in 2017 to talk about his funeral at his wife Victoria’s birthday party.

MacGowan ’s body lies just over the road from his favourite pub.

 (Barney Davis)
(Barney Davis)

Allstar lineup announced for Shane MacGowan’s funeral

16:45 , Sam Rkaina

Music will feature strongly at Shane MacGowan’s mass, which gets underway at 3.30pm on Friday after his casket is driven around Dublin.

Nick Cave, who called MacGowan the “greatest songwriter of his generation”, will be among those performing at the public mass at St Mary’s of the Rosary Church in Nenagh.

Singers at the emotional ceremony will be Glen Hansard, Finbarr Furey, Cave and Lisa O’Neill.

For those unable to squeeze into the church the ceremony will be streamed live around pubs in the town with mourners encouraged to raise a glass to The Pogues singer.

Former Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan (PA Wire)
Former Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan (PA Wire)

Schools to close early as all eyes on Nenagh for Shane MacGowan’s funeral

22:59 , Barney Davis

Local schools in Nenagh will close early on Friday as the world’s greatest songwriters and global media descend on the rural town ahead of Shane MacGowan’s funeral.

Primary schools will shut at 12noon while the secondary schools will close at 12.30pm it was announced.

The schools were asked to consider finishing early as traffic restrictions will be in place from 8am.

Nenagh locals have been trying to switch shifts to get the time off from work to join in the celebration of MacGowan’s life.

The iconic singer’s funeral mass will take place at 3.30pm at St Mary’s of the Rosary Church with Father Pat Gilbert overseeing the service.

 (Nenagh Parish)
(Nenagh Parish)

Shane MacGowan’s family thank public for support

23:04 , Barney Davis

The family of Shane MacGowan issued a statement late on Thursday, saying they are “very grateful for the affection and messages of condolence they have received since his passing”.

“In order for as many people as possible to have a chance to say their own slán to Shane, his funeral procession in Dublin, will be followed by a funeral mass in Nenagh which will be broadcast live, and then a final farewell procession through Nenagh town.

The 65-year-old singer passed away on November 30 following a battle with pneumonia. His wife of five years and long-time partner Victoria Mary Clarke and his family were by his bedside.