Bob Geldof and Bono among mourners at Sinéad O’Connor’s funeral

A funeral procession has been held for Sinead O’Connor in the Irish town of Bray, with Bob Geldof and Bono among those paying tribute.

Details of her funeral were shared yesterday (August 7), with fans invited to say a “last goodbye” to the singer and activist as a procession followed a route along the seafront in Bray, County Wicklow.

Starting earlier this morning (August 8), the cortege began at the Harbour Bar continued to the other end of Strand Road. It also stopped by the house where O’Connor lived for 15 years, and a private burial ceremony is soon to follow.

For the event, thousands of fans came out to bid farewell to the ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ singer and pay their respects. In an update shared by BBC, it was reported that many walked behind the hearse, some throwing flowers and some with their heads bowed.

Among those sighted at the tribute included U2’s frontman Bono, Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar and Irish President Michael D Higgins. At the event, the latter said that the sheer amount of people arriving for the funeral cortege “demonstrates the profound impact which she had on the Irish people” (via BBC News).

People lay flowers and tributes on the hearse during the funeral procession of late Irish singer Sinead O’Connor, Aug 8, 2023. CREDIT: Paul Faith/Getty Images

The Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof was also seen, riding in a white taxi as part of the funeral cortege, passing mourners lined outside the late singer’s former home.

His appearance this morning follows the on-stage tribute he paid to O’Connor while at Cavan Calling festival in Ireland on July 31. At the event, he told the crowd about his longtime friendship with the musician and shared his admiration for her courage.

“She meant a lot to everyone. She meant a lot to us,” he began. “She was relentless. She had a voice like none of us have ever heard – so pure. And being a great artist, that voice completely represented her soul and her spirit and whenever we hear that we’ll always be with that great woman.”

He also recalled how he had received text messages from her just weeks before her passing. “She was a very good friend of mine. We were talking right up to a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “Some of her texts were laden with desperation and despair and sorrow and some were ecstatically happy. She was like that.”

People attend the funeral of 56-year-old Irish Musician Sinead O'Connor, in Bray, North Wicklow, Ireland on August 08, 2023.
People attend the funeral of 56-year-old Irish Musician Sinead O’Connor, in Bray, North Wicklow, Ireland on August 08, 2023. CREDIT: Mostafa Darwish/Getty Images

Today, the cortege was led by a VW camper van, which played music from four large speakers on the roof. One of the tracks played was ‘Natural Mystic’ by Bob Marley and the Wailers – a track from one of O’Connor’s personal heroes.

It was also a reference to how she had the colours of the Rastafarian flag painted on the corner of her house in the town, along with the album of reggae covers she released in 2005.

Candles, images of the singer and even political banners were held by those awaiting the funeral cortege, and fans also placed flowers on the windscreen of the cars that drove by. Towards the end of the service, a moving eulogy was led by Shaykh Dr Umar al Qadri from the Islamic Centre of Ireland.

“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,” he said (via Sky News).

“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.”

It was also reported earlier today that a heartwarming tribute had been installed on cliffs overlooking the coast town – designed by Dublin-based creative agency The Tenth Man.

The message showed the words ‘Eire’, the Irish name for Ireland, and ‘Sinéad’ joined by a heart. Discussing the inspiration behind the tribute, the agency’s creative director, Richard Seabrooke told NI’s Good Morning Ulster programme (via BBC) that O’Connor’s death hit him “like a tonne of bricks” and he felt it was important “that Ireland got to say goodbye” to the singer.

News that the singer and activist had died broke last month (July 26), after she was found unresponsive in her London home. She was pronounced dead at the scene, aged 56.

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