- 08 Aug 23
Thousands of fans lined the seafront in Bray this morning, ahead of the beloved Irish singer's private burial.
A VW van – decorated with Rastafarian colours, an LGBTQ+ Pride flag, and flowers – led the procession for Sinéad O’Connor in Bray this morning, with the sounds of Bob Marley’s ‘Natural Mystic’, blasted out of giant speakers tied to the vehicle’s roof, soundtracking the iconic Irish artist’s final journey through the Co. Wicklow town ahead of a private burial today.
Following close behind, Sinéad’s hearse was met with applause from the thousands of fans who lined the streets of the seafront, from the corner of The Harbour Bar right up the house where the singer lived for 15 years – a building, with its famous green, yellow and red quoin stones, that remains a landmark along the Strand Road.
Both locals and fans from right across the country had gathered from early in the morning – as the amusements and funfair rides that had been part of the seaside town's Bank Holiday Weekend celebrations lay idle. The turn-out spanned multiple generations and backgrounds, with many standing together outside Sinéad's former home hours before the procession began. The selection of songs played throughout the morning served as a crucial reminder of the remarkable range of her artistry – from her own era-transcending hits, to captivating renditions of standards like 'Gloomy Sunday'.
As a town with a fierce sense of pride and character, Bray felt like a fitting home for the star – located just a quarter-of-an-hour spin from where she had grown up in Glenageary, Co. Dublin. It was also a fitting setting for the public's final moments with Sinéad, with her powerful personality proudly celebrated by many of those in attendance.
And despite the tragic circumstances, the gathering was also imbued with Sinéad's rebellious spirit. Fans held up signs that referenced the singer's fearless activism, including her famous call to "fight the real enemy" after ripping up an image of the Pope on Saturday Night Live in 1992. Survivors of Mother and Baby Homes also stood in front of the house, in recognition of Sinéad's crucial efforts to speak out and demand justice for victims of clerical abuse, at a time when many were unwilling to do so.
Family and friends also followed in cars behind the hearse, including fellow musicians like Bob Geldof.
Today's funeral came just under two weeks after Sinéad's tragic death in London, aged 56.
As Hot Press previously reported, she had been working with Belfast producer David Holmes on a new album, for which the pair had just one track left to record.
Hot Press is set to publish a special tribute edition of the magazine to commemorate her life and work – which is now available to pre-order.
You can read Niall Stokes' full tribute to Sinéad – published in the current issue of Hot Press – here.