- 30 Nov 23
President Michael D. Higgins, Spider Stacy, Moya Brennan, Glen Matlock, KNEECAP, Tim Burgess and more have shared moving tributes to the iconic singer and songwriter.
Tributes are pouring from across the music world and beyond this morning, following sad news of the death of Shane MacGowan.
The Pogues icon died peacefully in the early hours of this morning, November 30, aged 65.
His wife, Victoria Mary Clarke described him as "the measure of my dreams and the love of my life", as well as "the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear", in a powerful tribute shared online.
"I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him," she continued, "and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures. There’s no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world. Thank you thank you thank you thank you for your presence in this world you made it so very bright and you gave so much joy to so many people with your heart and soul and your music. You will live in my heart forever. Rave on in the garden all wet with rain that you loved so much. You meant the world to me."
The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins has also paid tribute, remembering Shane as "one of music's greatest lyricists."
"So many of his songs would be perfectly crafted poems, if that would not have deprived us of the opportunity to hear him sing them," the President resumes. "The genius of Shane’s contribution includes the fact that his songs capture within them, as Shane would put it, the measure of our dreams - of so many worlds, and particularly those of love, of the emigrant experience and of facing the challenges of that experience with authenticity and courage, and of living and seeing the sides of life that so many turn away from.
"His words have connected Irish people all over the globe to their culture and history, encompassing so many human emotions in the most poetic of ways," he adds. "Shane’s talent was nurtured from a young age by his mother Therese, herself an award winning folk singer in her own right. Therese, who lost her life in such tragic circumstances on New Year’s Day 2017, inspired in Shane the love of Irish music and traditions which resulted in the wonderful music and lyrics which have been a source of such joy for so many people.
"Born on Christmas Day, there was perhaps some form of destiny which led Shane to writing ‘Fairytale of New York’, the timeless quality of which will surely mean that it will be listened to every Christmas for the next century or more. Likewise songs like ‘Rainy Night in Soho’, ‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’, ‘If I Should Fall from Grace with God’ and so many others will live on far into the years and decades to come.
"I think too of ‘Haunted’, and the particular poignancy that both Shane and Sinéad O’Connor have left us in such quick succession.
"It was a great honour for me, as President of Ireland, to present Shane with a lifetime achievement award in the National Concert Hall in January 2018 as we marked his 60th birthday. A richly deserved honour."
Hot Press editor Niall Stokes has stated that "there is no doubt that Shane MacGowan was one of the all-time great songwriters – and will be remembered as such.
“No one wrote about people on the margins of society as well as Shane," he continued. "There is a deep sense of compassion and love of humanity in his work, which gives it a unique emotional power. There is also a wonderful poetic quality to his use of language... He truly was one of a kind – a brilliant and exceptional talent, who has hugely influenced the course of Irish music, and whose songs will still be sung in fifty and a hundred years time.
“Our heart goes out to his wonderful partner Victoria Mary Clarke, to his sister Siobhan and his father Maurice – and to all of the extended Pogues clan."
Shane's former bandmate Spider Stacy shared a moving tribute of his own, quoting Walt Whitman:
‘O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done..’ pic.twitter.com/YnkreXRmYB
— Spider Stacy (@spiderstacy) November 30, 2023
Robert Read, the CEO of the National Concert Hall, also issued a statement.
"We were honoured to host his special 60th birthday celebratory concert where he was presented with the National Concert Hall’s Lifetime Achievement Award, so richly deserved by someone who placed Irish culture & music on the global stage and influenced so many," he commented.
"His love of Irish literature, history & poetry was boundless & he channelled this into his unique talent for crafting timeless songs which capture the richness and complexity of the human experience. We will not see his like again."
"A big round of applause for the legend that was Shane McGowan who is sadly no longer with us," Glen Matlock, founding member of the Sex Pistols, wrote online. "A pleasure to have known you."
Clannad's Moya Brennan stated that she "was lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to sing with him, and to call him a friend."
Sadness in my heart with the news of my dear friend, Shane 💔 I was lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to sing with him, and to call him a friend. My love goes to @Victoriamary and the rest of his family and friends ❤️ pic.twitter.com/dXJ5rDvrlU
— Moya Brennan (@moyaclannad) November 30, 2023
See more tributes to Shane MacGowan below:
RIP to the very best Irish songwriter there ever was❤️
'The factions all were fighting their deadly power game
He said f*ck them all and left the INLA
Wherever there was trouble, there was Paddy and his gun
And the papers called him Paddy Public Enemy Number One' pic.twitter.com/GZcFaCqnCT
— KNEECAP (@KNEECAPCEOL) November 30, 2023
— LANKUM (@LankumDublin) November 30, 2023
R.I.P. Shane absolute legend xoxo https://t.co/lNGr2DbdTj
— The Mary Wallopers 🐖 (@marywallopers) November 30, 2023
I am really sorry to hear of death of Shane Magowan. RG & I were with him and Victoria last Wednesday. Ireland has lost a great patriot, a poet and friend of the down trodden and marginalised. pic.twitter.com/Z3QmlK7aNN
— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) November 30, 2023
RIP Shane - a one off and probably the best Irish songwriter ever.
'Did the old songs taunt or cheer you?
And did they still make you cry?
Did you count the months and years
Or did your teardrops quickly dry' pic.twitter.com/BWmoZKvuVz
— Daniel Lambert (@dlLambo) November 30, 2023
Shane 💔 pic.twitter.com/6otzhpCFdI
— TG4TV 🎈 (@TG4TV) November 30, 2023
Heartbroken to hear Shane McGowan has passed.
I really hope he and Sinead will be serenading the stars tonight. Rest in love and thanks for all you have left. pic.twitter.com/ViNMsNjjkx
— Mark O’Brien (@obrienmark) November 30, 2023
Shane's music with the Pogues was a huge influence to me as someone who listened to punk and Planxty. His songwriting is up there with the greats. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís. pic.twitter.com/HTvTeGTWgJ
— Malcolm Noonan T.D. (@noonan_malcolm) November 30, 2023
Shane was the voice of London for us Irish. When I was scared about moving here he lured me over with songs about chancers, drinkers, lovers, poets and scoundrels. That’s the place for me ,I thought!
He also taught me how to miss Home,whatever that may be. Damn shame, Shane. 🖤 https://t.co/ARsV6jTzzN
— Siobhán McSweeney (@siobhni) November 30, 2023
Farewell Shane MacGowan. A life lived to the full. A lyrical genius. An inspiration to so many of us who wanted to be in bands. I followed The Pogues to far flung places, met Shane a few times and watched some of the most exhilarating shows I’ve ever witnessed
📷 Steve Pyke pic.twitter.com/gHrtDNwVDW
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) November 30, 2023
— Jah Wobble (@realjahwobble) November 30, 2023
Up to join his fellow Gods. So long Shane ♥️ pic.twitter.com/eYIw3U6HQW
— The Murder Capital (@MurderCapital_) November 30, 2023
Kind of hard to believe Irish music has lost Christy Dignam, Sinead O’Connor and Shane MacGowan in the same year #RIP
— Will Leahy (@willleahy) November 30, 2023