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Fans gathered outside in Temple Bar this evening. Nicky Ryan/The Journal
Dublin

'Fiery, fierce and bold to the core': Fans gather to remember Sinéad O'Connor in Dublin City

Fans of the singer gathered in Temple Bar this evening and lay out flowers, signs, newspapers and candles.

FANS OF SINGER-SONGWRITER Sinéad O’Connor, who passed away yesterday at the age of 56, gathered in Temple Bar in Dublin City this evening to remember the life of the artist.

Fans of Sinéad O’Connor gathered outside the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Temple Bar this evening and lay out flowers, signs, newspapers and candles to remember the singer and celebrate her life.

The legendary singer was one of this country’s most internationally famous musicians and was much-loved at home and abroad.

IMG_8507 Fans outside the museum shared the emotion that Sinéad O'Connor's music had. Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal / The Journal

The singer’s death was confirmed in a statement from her family to RTÉ yesterday who said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinead.

“Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time,” a statement added.

One fan, Lenny Coffey, said she was “gutted” to hear of the singer’s death

Coffey said: “I was driving home from work and I heard the news come through on the radio. I just starting bawling.”

lenny-coffey-pays-tribute-to-sinead-oconnor-at-the-irish-rock-n-roll-museum-in-the-temple-bar-area-of-dublin-after-her-death-at-the-age-of-56-the-irish-singer-was-found-unresponsive-at-a-home-i Lenny Coffey paying tribute to Sinéad this evening in Dublin. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

“My mom, my sister and I really bonded over her music since a young age. One of my first times [coming] to Dublin was to come up to Dublin Castle to see her perform with mam and [my sister],” Coffey added.

It feels like a really personal loss. She’s one of our own, I’m gutted. Really gutted.”

O’Connor, who also used the names Magda Davitt and Shuhada Sadaqat after converting to Islam, had four children. One of her children, Shane, is also recently deceased.

Fans gathered and spoke about what Sinéad and her music meant to them, including one fan and local poet, Sorcha Hackett, who, along with her sister, had written a poem about O’Connor.

IMG_8498 Local poet Sorcha Hackett (R) read a poem that she and her sister had written and dedicated to Sinéad. Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal / The Journal

“She kicked down the barriers, in her Doc Martin boots. Bald-headed deliverer of unwanted truths. The industry wanted her to change who she was, so she shaved off her hair and broke unwritten laws,” Hackett said to the crowd.

Truthful witness, fiery, fierce and bold to the core. Punk goddess of the 90s – she bellowed her roar.”

Hackett’s and her sister’s poem discussed many of the topics that made Sinéad O’Connor the legendary star she was, including a mention of her 1992 Saturday Night Live appearance where she ripped up a photo of the pope.

Hackett told The Journal that she felt that poetry was the best way to commemorate the life of Sinéad O’Connor.

Abroad – the London Irish Centre, in England’s capital, is hosting a free event where fans can gather in honour of Sinéad and her “impact on the Irish community and beyond”. Ex-BBC Radio host and Irish DJ Annie MacManus will be holding the event in the centre in London at 8pm.

The event has since sold out.

Other events around Dublin have been organised by fans including an event in Penny Lane Bar on Strand Street, in the city centre, tomorrow evening.

The Harbour Bar in Bray, Co Wicklow, close to where Sinéad lived, will also be hosting an event this evening where they will play O’Connor’s music throughout the night.

Libby Jones, another fan of the singer, spoke to the crowd about how “powerful” Sinéad O’Connor’s music and message was.

Jones said: “Her music was powerful, it really was. There was a lot of stuff going on in the 80s and we needed that. She was the sister that gave us the strength and I think that’s still here.”

IMG_8518 (1) Libby Jones hopes the messaging in O'Connor's music can continue into the next generation. Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal / The Journal

“This is what we need, we need to keep this alive because she made such a different to, not only everybody in Ireland in the 80s but, she continued to do that,” Jones said.

Hopefully the younger kids will rediscover her and start listening to the music and start getting that passion and power behind [her music].”

RTÉ will pay tribute to O’Connor through its programming over the next few days including the broadcasting of ‘Sinéad O’Connor – Live at Vicar Street’ will air on RTÉ One on Saturday Night.

The hour-long special was recorded live in Vicar Street in 2002, and includes performances of iconic tracks such as Molly Malone, My Lagan Love, Nothing Compares 2 U and Fire On Babylon.

Up For The Match will also remember O’Connor on Saturday evening. Multiple RTÉ radio stations, Radio 1, 2FM and Lyric FM, will be delving into the archives for previous interviews and performances by O’Connor over the years.

Other programmes paying tribute include Lyric FM’s Mystery Train, Raidió na Gaeltachta’s Tús Áite, The Ray D’Arcy Show and The Brendan O’Connor Show on RTÉ Radio 1.

The crowd outside the museum in Dublin sang two of Sinéad’s 1990 track ‘Black Boys on Mopeds’ and, the renowned, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’

Coffey told The Journal that the event showed how many people the singer had impacted and allowed them to “share the grief” over the loss of the singer.

She was amazing, she was ahead of her time. She didn’t deserve the way she was treated. I wish she knew how much we all loved her.”

President Michael D Higgins offered his condolences to her father, John, her other family members and “all those with whom she shared her life” after the announcement of her passing yesterday.

“My first reaction on hearing the news of Sinéad’s loss was to remember her extraordinarily beautiful, unique voice. What was striking in all of the recordings she made and in all of her appearances was the authenticity of the performance, while her commitment to the delivery of the song and its meaning was total,” the President said.

To those of us who had the privilege of knowing her, one couldn’t but always be struck by the depth of her fearless commitment to the important issues which she brought to public attention, no matter how uncomfortable those truths may have been.”

sinead-oconnor-and-kate-tempest-performing-on-stage-during-day-three-of-camp-bestival-at-lulworth-castle-in-dorset-sunday-3rd-august-2014-featuring-sinead-oconnor-where-dorset-united-kingdom-w O'Connor performing in Dorset in 2014 Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

President Higgins described her as one of Ireland’s “greatest and most gifted composers, songwriters and performers of recent decades, one who had a unique talent and extraordinary connection with her audience, all of whom held such love and warmth for her”.

“Her contribution joins those great achievements of Irish women who contributed to our lives, its culture and its history in their own unique but unforgettable ways. May her spirit find the peace she sought in so many different ways.” 

Additional reporting from Mairead Maguire and Hayley Halpin

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