The crowd of mourners had thinned over the course of the lengthy service, but who could blame them?
The wind howled and blew gusts of rain through their ranks, on a bleak wintry day in Nenagh.
But then a moment of utter warmth flowed from inside the St Mary of the Rosary church and enveloped those outside.
The strains of the song that will forever shape Shane MacGowan’s legacy, Fairytale of New York, drifted out, and the crowd sparked into life, bellowing the lyrics into the dark sky, lifting their phones above their heads.
The irony – by the time of his death MacGowan was truly fed-up of the song – was irrelevant. Inside the church, Shane’s widow Victoria spun around in front of the altar, as a joyous jig broke out among the mourners. They were dancing in the aisles.
His sister Siobhan rose to deliver a eulogy after the performance. Smiling, she told mourners: “Wow, I think Shane would have enjoyed that.”
Throughout the day, Fairytale had been piped over the town’s PA system, the snarling festive duet serenading shoppers, along with the rest of the Pogues’ back catalogue. Here in Nenagh, his childhood home, he was just known as Shane.
“An ordinary bloke”. That’s how local music shop owner Noel McQuaid described the late singer, who would often pop by to buy CDs of traditional Irish music.
“He didn’t want to be treated different, and we didn’t treat him different, anyone in Nenagh. That’s the way he wanted it.
“I think I’ve died and gone to heaven”, said Father Pat Gilbert, after the remaining Pogues members performed in his church, having already informed the congregation of his fanhood.
Image: The Fairytale Of New York rang out in the church
Image: People dancing in the streets earlier in the day
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Earlier in the day, we had seen more scenes of celebration on the streets of Dublin, Shane’s adopted home, as his cortege wound its way through the streets, with fans lifting pints of Guinness and bursting into song. Some threw flowers.
Image: Thousands gathered outside the church for the funeral
Josie Feeney, from Co Leitrim, travelled to Dublin to pay her respects.
She said: “My father’s family were from Tipperary, my grandmother was from Nenagh.
“We don’t always know all the lyrics but this week we know more of Shane’s lyrics, they are really very moving, they are poetry. He was a genius.”
Shane MacGowan, according to his widow, hated going to funerals, and tried to avoid them.
This was no funeral in the normal sense of the word. It was a long, raucous and slightly chaotic celebration of a hugely chaotic and much loved icon of modern Ireland.
Source : Sky News