Sinéad O’Connor fans gather in late singer’s Irish hometown for heartfelt seaside sendoff

A crowd of mourners surrounds a hearse carrying a casket, flowers and a photo of Sinéad O'Connor
Fans of Sinéad O’Connor, who died in July at age 56, mourned the singer as she was laid to rest Tuesday.
(Liam McBurney / Associated Press)
Share via

Scores of devoted fans guided singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor to her final resting place Tuesday in her coastal hometown of Bray, Ireland.

Fans lined the streets singing O’Connor’s hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” as a flower-filled hearse carrying the singer’s body made its way to her home. Fans also tossed an array of flowers onto the hearse, which was led by a black-and-white VW camper blasting Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic.”

At O’Connor’s home, fans left handwritten notes and flowers thanking her for her activism and her work, the Associated Press reported.


Sinead O’Connor, the haunting singer who shot to fame in the ‘90s and sparked controversy with an anti-Catholic protest on live TV in the U.S., has died at 56.

July 26, 2023

“Thanks for your short special life,” one note read. “Gone too soon.”

O’Connor, who rose to fame in 1990 with a shaved head and the Prince-written song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” died July 26. Her death was announced in a family statement shared with the BBC.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time,” the statement said. No cause of death was given. She was 56.

A hearse filled with blue and pink flowers with red and yellow flowers on top in front of a crowd of people
Sinéad O’Connor’s flower-filled hearse is followed by a crowd of devoted fans in Bray, Ireland.
(Liam McBurney / Associated Press)

The singer, who changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat later in life when she converted to Islam, was a fierce and outspoken activist who infamously took her views to her “Saturday Night Live” appearance in 1992.

While performing a haunting a cappella rendition of Bob Marley’s once-banned song “War,” she began tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II on camera. She called on viewers to “fight the real enemy” and urged them to combat child abuse. She became a pariah with the shocking display, incurring the wrath of the church, its patrons and even her longtime foil, Madonna.

“I come from a tradition of Irish artists where I am principally concerned with affecting my society,” O’Connor told The Times in 2012. “Artists are supposed to act as an emergency fire service when it comes to spiritual conflict — not preaching or telling people what to do but being a little light that tells us that there is a spirit world.”


Celebrities from all corners of the entertainment world are paying tribute to the Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, who died at the age of 56.

July 26, 2023

London police told The Times in a July statement that the singer’s death was not being treated as suspicious.

Before her death, she wrote in a since-deleted tweet about the grief she faced after her 2022 suicide death of her 17-year-old son Shane.

“He was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul. We were one soul in two halves. He was the only person who ever loved me unconditionally. I am lost in the bardo without him,” she wrote.

Days before O’Connor was laid to rest, a video from creative agency the Tenth Man unveiled an art installation honoring her. On the verdant, seaside clips of Bray Head, white 30-foot hand-cut letters read “Eire [heart] Sinéad.” “Eire” is Irish for Ireland.

Sinéad O’Connor was found unresponsive at her London home, according to police, but the singer’s death is not being treated as suspicious.

July 27, 2023

“Thank you Sinéad. You used your fierce fragile voice to give many others their voice too,” the Tenth Man video says. “You wrote your story in this world and left it meaning the world to us.”

Times staff writer Nardine Saad and the Associated Press contributed to this report.