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Fans bid seaside farewell to Sinead O'Connor with songs, flags and flowers

Thousands gathered outdoors Sinead O’Connor’s former seaside house on Tuesday to bid farewell to the outspoken Irish rock star, some singing alongside to hits blasted from a classic Volkswagen camper van, others showering her hearse with flowers.

O’Connor, greatest identified for the 1990 chart-topping hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” and her controversial however typically prescient views on faith, intercourse and feminism, died on July 26 aged 56 after police discovered her unresponsive at an handle in London.

Crowds gathered alongside the seafront at Bray, simply south of Dublin, clapped and cheered as O’Connor’s coffin handed in a hearse. Driving forward, the VW van was decked out with a rainbow flag and blared Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic” from audio system secured to the roof.

“I think she had the courage to say a lot of things that we all felt,” mentioned Gemma Byrne, 47, who took a 90-minute prepare from the city of Drogheda to pay her respects.

“She represented our transition from a very dark past into a hopeful future and I’m just here to say thanks for being with me along that journey, and for maybe putting words and expression on what I felt but didn’t quite know how to say.”

Two of Byrne’s pals held a big pink flag studying “Thank You Sinead.” Others stood with buggies and canines, some climbed up on partitions to get a greater view, and locals watched from balconies overlooking the strand.

One fan held a black-and-white picture of O’Connor with the phrases “Fight The Real Enemy,” the declaration the singer famously made after ripping up of a photograph of Pope John Paul II throughout a 1992 tv look on “Saturday Night Live.”

O’Connor’s music was performed from the VW van outdoors her former house, which has change into a focus for followers since her loss of life.

“Sinead loved living in Bray and the people in it,” her household mentioned a press release inviting the general public to collect earlier than her personal burial. Irish President Michael D. Higgins and prime minister Leo Varadkar joined O’Connor’s household at a personal funeral service, state broadcaster RTE reported.

“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 to go to another place.”

Tiana Kelleher mentioned she introduced her 4-year outdated son Leon to point out him what the singer meant to the folks of Ireland.

“Sinead O’Connor was a very sensitive soul but was very strong for other like her,” mentioned Kelleher, 30, who moved to Dublin from New York along with her husband Stephen final yr.

“She spoke to something that everyone who has gone through some suffering can relate to.”

© Thomson Reuters 2023.