Irish musical royalty including members of U2 attended Sinead O’Connor’s funeral today before her coffin was cheered through the streets of Bray led by a VW campervan playing Bob Marley and her own hits.
More than 3,000 people gathered in her home town to mourn the star with many sobbing while singing ‘Nothing Compares to U’ in a moving final farewell following her sudden death in London last month aged 56.
The family of the singer, who died aged 56 last month, held a private memorial service this morning attended by the president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Stars including Bono, the Edge and Bob Geldof were also there.
Sinead’s eulogy said she ‘suffered more than her share of hardship and adversity’. Imam Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri added: ‘Gifted with a voice that moved a generation of young people, she could reduce listeners to tears by her otherworldly resonance. Sinead’s voice carried with it an undertone of hope, of finding one’s way home. The Irish people have long found solace in song from the sufferings of this lower abode, and Sinead was no exception, and in sharing that solace, she brought joy to countless people the world over.’
The acclaimed singer’s family had asked people who wished to say a ‘last goodbye’ to stand along Bray seafront in Co Wicklow as the cortege passed by this lunchtime, to the sound of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Natural Mystic.
A Volkswagen camper led the hearse carrying her on her final journey with mourners throwing flowers on to the roof and bonnet. Blue hydrangeas and roses covered and surrounded the coffin. It then stopped outside her former home for several minutes so mourners could pay their respects. Many stepped into the road to touch the vehicle.
Another VW decorated with flowers and Pride flags was also outside Sinead’s former home. It was playing some of her songs from speakers mounted on the roof. Fans sang along to her song ‘Nothing Compares to U’ and some wiped away tears when the song ‘Scarlet Ribbons’, which has lyrics about ‘living to a hundred’, was played. The crowd of broke into applause as each song ended.
Sinead, a mother-of-four survived by her three living children, was found dead in her penthouse flat in Herne Hill on July 26 – the cause of death has not yet been revealed. She will be laid to rest today in her beloved Ireland with a traditional Muslim burial following her conversion in 2018.
Sinead O’Connor’s coffin stands outside her former home in Bray – the heart of weeks of mourning – as friends, fans and loved ones paid their respects
Sinead’s face was placed at the end of her coffin as she was clapped and cheered
Bono and the Edge leaving a funeral home in Bray after a service for Sinead
The singer’s close friend Bob Geldof was also at the service where Sinead’s eulogy said she ‘suffered more than her share of hardship and adversity’.
The extraordinary scenes as the hearse drives slowly through Bray today
Fans of singer Sinead O’Connor line the streets for a ‘last goodbye’ to the Irish singer as her funeral cortege passes through her former hometown of Bray
Irish Grammy-winning singer Sinead O’Connor was found unresponsive by police at her south-east London home, aged 56. She converted to Islam in around 2018
Bob Marley’s ‘Natural Mystic’ was played from its speakers as the hearse stopped outside her former home. Her coffin was barely visible as it was covered in flowers, but around 5,000 people broke out into spontaneous applause as the reggae kings music played out.
It stopped only a few minutes in front of the home, which had a pink chair on its steps. Sinead would sit on the chair during Covid and talk to passers-by as associating with others and personal contact had been during the pandemic.
The VW was driven and organised by music producer friends of the late singer, and the vehicle is called ‘Jackie’ by its owners in honour of JFK’s first lady who visited Ireland in 1963, the year the vehicle was manufactured.
Her friend Liam O’Maonlai, the lead singer of the band, Hothouse Flowers, was among those who arrived at Sinead’s former home. He said of the huge crowds: ‘I think it’s love is why people are outside the house today. They loved her. I admired her.’
Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, chief Imam at the Islamic Centre of Ireland, told MailOnline that Sinead was to have a Muslim burial on accordance with her conversion to the religion, referring to her with her adopted name Shuhada Sadaqat.
Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri later told the PA news agency: ‘The funeral was obviously private (for) the family and it was a very moving ceremony and I think it really reflected the beautiful personality of Sinead.
‘It was very spiritual and it reflected her Irish identity as well as her Muslim identity.
‘So I was with the members of the Muslim community and we performed the Janazah prayer, which is the Islamic funeral prayer, over Sinead.’
He also said that O’Connor ‘never moved away from God’ unlike others who have ‘difficulties and trials’ in their lives.
Dr Umar Al-Qadri said: ‘She was an amazing human being who was not just a great musician, artist, but one that would reach hearts of millions of people because of her voice but also because of the amazing content… She had always had strong faith and conviction in God.’
Bob Geldof followed the coffin in a taxi
A picture is placed inside a hearse carrying the coffin of late Irish singer Sinead O’Connor
Fans of singer Sinead O’Connor line the streets for a ‘last goodbye’
Grammy-winning O’Connor, 56, was found unresponsive by police at her south-east London home on July 26
Sinead’s coffin is mobbed as it travels through Bray as people threw roses on to the roof
The bonnet of the hearse was covered in blooms thrown from the crowd
Others reached in to touch the hearse as it passed
Many wiped away tears as the coffin went by
Irish president Michael Higgins said he would be attending the funeral service.
He said in a statement: ‘The outpouring of grief and appreciation of the life and work of Sinead O’Connor demonstrates the profound impact which she had on the Irish people.
‘The unique contribution of Sinead involved the experience of a great vulnerability combined with a superb, exceptional level of creativity that she chose to deliver through her voice, her music and her songs.
‘The expression of both, without making any attempt to reduce the one for the sake of the other, made her contribution unique – phenomenal in music terms, but of immense heroism.
‘However, achieving this came from the one heart and the one body and the one life, which extracted an incredible pain, perhaps one too much to bear.
‘That is why all those who are seeking to make a fist of their life, combining its different dimensions in their own way, can feel so free to express their grief at her loss.’
The scene at Sinead’s former home in Bray as the cortege passed
Sinead left Bray after many years this summer, having struggled following the death of her son Shane
Tears for Sinead as Ireland and the world say goodbye to her today
Fans of singer Sinead O’Connor line the streets for a ‘last goodbye’ to the Irish singer. A VW camper playing Bopb Marley led the way
More than 3,000 people stood on the roads around her former seaside home
Her coffin was covered in hydrangeas and roses
Bray locals clap and cheer the coffin carrying the late star
Two crying women hold eachother outside late Irish singer Sinead O’Connor’s former home to say their last goodbye to her on the day of her funeral procession
Many filmed the procession, led by Bob Marley songs
Fans seen outside the former home of Sinead O’Connor in Bray on the day of her funeral
A VW camper with pride flags and speakers playing her songs pulls up outside Sinead’s former home
Sara Mohamed said she had travelled to Bray to pay her respects to Sinead O’Connor.
‘(I’m) a massive fan of Sinead and she’ll be missed. She was an Irish legend.
‘As an Irish Muslim, I felt that I should be here on behalf of my community to pay my respects to the Irish legend she was.
‘I just think she was massively outspoken and she spoke for minorities who didn’t have a voice. And that’s very admirable and very brave.’
Veronica Kelly travelled from Shannon at 2am and arrived in Bray at dawn to place flowers and said: ‘We will never see a woman in Ireland like Sinead again. Sinead gave a voice to the voiceless. She wasn’t afraid to speak out, and she stood up for black lives, gay rights and refugees.
‘This is a very sad day. She was an incredible woman. I had met and she just seemed like an ordinary person. But she was far from that. We will miss her greatly.’
Office worker Paula Cairns,51, said: ‘On top of all her wonderful achievements in standing up for the underdog, she was also a great musician.
‘We have lost a leading Irish light whose voice was known around the world.’
Daultach Magehsonnbhairr, 18, said: ‘Even though I’m a teenager, I know what Sinead meant to Ireland. We will all be enjoying her music for many years to come.’
Fans pack the street outside the former home of Sinead O’Connor in Bray
Sinead’s former home is at the centre of the mourning today
Two children in pink look at tributes
Fans outside the former home of Sinead O’Connor in Bray
Tears for Sinead in Bray today
A woman holds flowers as fans gather outside late Irish singer Sinead O’Connor’s former home
Many cried, but others came to celebrate her life
A giant installation honouring the late musician and activist Sinéad O’Connor was unveiled on Bray Head, Co Wicklow, Ireland on Sunday
Friends and fans, many of them crying, sang her songs
Police have been forced to close roads in Bray today
Sinead O’Connor fans Pamela Moore (left) and Peter Gannon stand outside the former home of the late singer
A man holds a guitar as fans gather to mourn the singer
Many people were crying as they heard her songs
Liam O’Maonlai sang with her at London’s Royal Festival Hall, shortly after she had been booed off stage at Madison Square Gardens for ripping up a picture of The Pope on American TV in 1992.
He said: ‘. She had not been put off by what happened in New York.
‘There are people who have a certain mastery in their art, as Sinead was one of those.
‘Whenever she walked into a room, she was the centre of it with the way she dressed, and the way she spoke.
‘She had incredible strength, and she showed that when she tried to sing her song, ‘I believe in you’ in Madison Square Garden and was booed.
‘Instead of walking off she turned to the song ‘War’ which was written by Haile Selassie and talks about peace.
‘It was an honour to perform with her. I just hope that she died with a smile on her face.’
Sinead fan Mary Clarke,52, from Galway said: ‘she spoke to me in so many ways about the difficulties of grown-up in Ireland.
‘This was all before social media. She just said amazing things I wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. How do you spoke for a lot of people of my age which is similar to her generation. She is going to be missed’
Her daughter Lucy,14, said: ‘I will always listen to music. I’ve been told a lot about how incredible she was by my mother.’
Babara O’Mera of the Moonmna womens’ group of Dublin said: ‘She inspired a lot of women like me. She was very brave and not afraid to be outspoken.’
The scene outside Sinead O’Connor’s home in Bray ahead of her funeral
A pink chair has been placed outside the pink-framed conservatory of the house, located on the seafront
The streets lined for Sinead O’Connor’s funeral
The acclaimed singer’s family have asked people who wish to say a ‘last goodbye’ to stand along Bray seafront in Co Wicklow as the cortege passes by before a private burial
A mourner pays her respects outside the former home of Sinead O’Connor in Bray
A handmade poster praising and mourning Sinead’s passing
A note on the wall outside the singer’s former home in Bray – thanking her for her music
Hothouse Flowers lead singer Liam O’Maonlai pays his respect outside the former home of Sinead O’Connor
A young woman puts her arm around a mourning parent
Flowers topped with the Irish flag left for Sinead
The procession is expected to start at 10.30am at the Harbour Bar end of the Strand Road and will continue past by her former home, Montebello, where she lived for 15 years.
One note left there said: ‘You are forever in my heart.’
A pink chair was placed outside the pink-framed conservatory of the house, located on the seafront, with pink flowers and a photo of the singer placed at the base of the chair.
One sign left at the wall of the property listed causes that the singer had expressed support for, including welcoming refugees: ‘Where words fail, music speaks.’
A neighbour was also seen putting candles on the wall that separated the two properties.
Since her death on July 26, people have been leaving flowers and paying their respects at the house, which the singer sold in 2021 and which now lies empty.
‘Sinead loved living in Bray and the people in it,’ a statement issued by her family said.
‘With this procession, her family would like to acknowledge the outpouring of love for her from the people of Co Wicklow and beyond, since she left last week to go to another place.’
The Irish Grammy-winning singer was found unresponsive by police at her south-east London home, aged 56.
A host of tributes have flooded in from fans and famous artists across the world in response to her death, including Russell Crowe, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper and Bob Geldof.
Several gatherings were held in the days since O’Connor’s death in Dublin, Belfast and London, where members of the public paid tribute to her legacy as a musician and activist.
O’Connor, who was born in Dublin in December 1966, released her first album The Lion And The Cobra in 1987.
Her second studio album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, followed in 1990, which contained the hit single Nothing Compares 2 U, which saw O’Connor top the charts in countries around the world.
The track earned her multiple Grammy Award nominations including for the prestigious record of the year category, as well as best female pop vocal performance and best music video.
In 1991, she was named artist of the year by Rolling Stone magazine and took home the Brit Award for international female solo artist.
Late singer Sinead O’Connor pictured outside her home of 15 years in county Wicklow
She released a further eight studio albums, the latest being 2014’s I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss.
In 2018, O’Connor announced that she had converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat.
The cleric who presided over her conversion to Islam Umar Al-Qadri, the chief Imam of Ireland, yesterday posted a message on his Facebook page, describing her as a ‘beacon of truth and exemplar of Islam’s beautiful guideance.’
He said: ‘She has returned to her creator. Her conversion to Islam bore witness to the transcendent power of faith, reaching across cultural divides, tearing down walls of misunderstanding and prejudice.
‘Sister Shuhada’s journey underlined that embracing Islam is not merely a change of name or attire, but a quest for personal truth, acceptance of one’s imperfections, and submission to the Divine.
‘This path, filled with both petals and thorns, is one we must tread with empathy and humility.
Imam Al-Qadri, who said he had been Sinead’s ‘spiritual guide’, added: ‘May God envelope our sister Shuhada in his Loving Mercy, forgive her shortcomings and grant her a place in the highest of heavens.
‘May He comfort her loved ones in this difficult time, and guide us all to live lives reflecting the true essence of Islam.’
A photo of Sinead O’Connor at the Mansion House in Dublin as a book of condolence has been opened following her death
In 2018, O’Connor announced that she had converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat
He appealed for Muslims to hold prayers at 11am tomorrow to coincide with her private burial.
‘We can express our respect, love, and solidarity for our departed sister, mirroring the values she tirelessly championed.’
On Sunday, a tribute to Sinead was unveiled on Bray Head in northern County Wicklow, Ireland, close to where she lived.
Just a short distance from Sinead’s home on Strand Road, a sign reading ‘ÉIRE SINÉAD,’ along with a white heart was placed close to the World War Two ‘ÉIRE’ landmark.
The letters of the moving sign are 30ft tall each and the tribute was the brainchild of bosses of The Tenth Man, in association with mural specialists, Mack Signs.
Executive creative director of Tenth Man, Richard Seabrooke said: ‘So much has been said about Sinéad since her recent passing, I’m not sure what is left to say.
‘We just wanted to take the opportunity to mark the moment with a bold statement that symbolises what she meant to this little country of ours.’
Following her death, her music management company 67 Management said she had been finishing a new album, reviewing tour dates for next year and was also considering ‘opportunities’ around a movie of her book.
O’Connor’s death is not being treated as suspicious by authorities.
A London coroner did not find a medical cause of death and suggested that the post-mortem examination results may take several weeks.