Thousands attend Greystones funeral of Ronnie Drew

Tue, Aug 19, 2008, 01:00

Around 3,000 people have attended the funeral mass in Greystones, Co Wicklow, of iconic Dubliner Ronnie Drew, who died on Saturday aged 73.

The evocative musical tribute featured contributions from the remaining members of the Dubliners and Mike Hanrahan of Stockton’s Wing, Phil Coulter, Finbar Furey, jazz guitarist Louis Stewart and Eleanor Shanley, among others.

The church was closed to guests long before the start of the 10am service. A video link was relayed to a nearby church hall, which was also filled to capacity.

Crowds in the churchyard spilled out onto a local road and up onto a nearby railway bridge.

Gardaí halted traffic in the town as the funeral cortege made its way to and from the church.

In an address at the end of the Mass, Ronnie Drew’s children Phelim and Cliodhna thanked members of Irish showbusiness and the music industry - many of whom were present - for the outpouring of love and affection shown to the singer during his recent illness.

Cliodhna Drew said her father had been particularly touched in the last months of his life by the recording of The Ballad of Ronnie Drewby members of the Irish music industry, including members of U2, the Pogues and the Dubliners.

Phelim Drew recalled that it was just one year since the death of his mother Deirdre Drew whose funeral mass had been in the same church. He said he would like to think that “in my mother and Da’s passing we will carry something of their spirit to the next generation”.

He also thanked President Mary McAleese, Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Lord Mayor of Dublin Councillor Eibhlin Byrne, who were represented at the funeral and who had sent messages of sympathy.