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Irish mourners say goodbye to Sinéad O'Connor

Members of the public lined the streets and laid flowers outside of the former home of Sinéad O'Connor on Tuesday as large crowds of mourners gathered to say goodbye to the legendary singer in the small Irish coastal town of Bray. 

Large crowds were seen waving Irish flags and carrying pictures of the late musician as the funeral procession drove along the seafront of the town, with the procession beginning at the home where O'Connor once lived.

The funeral cortege then drove on to a private service where Irish President Michael D Higgins and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar were among the notable figures in attendance, according to Irish state broadcaster RTÉ.

The 56-year-old was found dead at a South London residence in the U.K. last month. A cause of death has not been released to the public, but London authorities are not treating O'Connor's death as suspicious.    

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, Chief Imam at the Islamic Centre of Ireland, led the prayers at the funeral service to reflect the faith that the musician embraced in her later life, RTÉ reported. O'Connor converted to Islam in 2018 and adopted the name Shuhada' Davitt, later Shuhada Sadaqat — although she continued to use Sinéad O'Connor on a professional basis. 

On Tuesday, mourners listened to some of O'Connor's biggest hits played over speakers from a campervan as they waited for the funeral procession, and sang along to the 1990 hit "Nothing Compares 2 U," for which the songstress was best known. 

The Volkswagen campervan played music and drove in front of the black hearse carrying O'Connor's coffin both to and from the funeral service, and the hearse stopped outside of the musician's former home in both directions of the procession route as crowds applauded. 

O'Connor's rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U," originally written by Prince, propelled the singer to global fame and earned her multiple Grammy Award nominations, including a win for Best Alternative Album in 1991.

But the late singer was no stranger to controversy throughout her career and was a vocal critic of abuses by the Catholic Church in Ireland. 

She also sparked intense outrage in the United States when she ripped a photo of Pope John Paul II and proclaimed: "Fight the real enemy" during a 1992 musical performance on Saturday Night Live.

Throughout her career, O'Connor retained national treasure status in her home country of Ireland.

A giant installation created by Dublin-based marketing agency The Tenth Man honoring the late Sinéad O'Connor is seen off the coast of Bray. August, 6th 2023.  The Tenth Man

Earlier this week, a video produced by Dublin-based creative agency The Tenth Man went viral as a giant installation honoring the songstress was unveiled off the coast of Bray. 

The sign which reads 'ÉIRE LOVES SINÉAD' with large white letters is located directly above a World War Two 'ÉIRE' (Ireland) navigational landmark, which had been imprinted on a hill during the war to signify to German bombers that they were flying over neutral Irish land. 

"We just wanted to take the opportunity to mark the moment with a bold statement that symbolizes what she [O'Connor] meant to this little country of ours," said Richard Seabrooke, executive creative director of the Tenth Man.

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