Music fans and shoppers sing along as Glen Hansard leads tribute to Shane MacGowan at the Dublin Christmas Eve Busk

Singer-songwriter said it was an ‘honour and a blessing’ to perform at the now-traditional free Busk, which has become one of Dublin Simon Community’s busiest fundraisers

More than a thousand music fans and last-minute shoppers crammed into South King Street, in front of Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre, to catch a glimpse of this year’s Christmas Busk in aid of the Simon Community.

Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Glen Hansard led the festivities by singing A Rainy Night in Soho in tribute to recently deceased Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan.

The members of the crowd, dressed up in festive garb and donning Santa hats, sang along as different buskers who normally perform in the area took the stage to sing covers of a range of other well known songs, including Zombie by The Cranberries.

It is the 12th edition of the Busk, which has now become a Christmas Eve tradition around Grafton Street.


Busy shoppers took a break to watch and contribute to the donation drive, on one of the charity’s busiest fundraising days of the year.

Hansard said it was an honour and a blessing to be performing at the free outdoor gig.

“What this is all about is singing a few songs to raise some money for shelter for people, brothers and sisters,” he said.

“I’m so grateful to everybody who shows up every year and what they bring is just phenomenal.”

Children clambered onto parents’ shoulders, bins and trees to get a better view as Santa Claus himself encouraged onlookers to dig deep for those who may be sleeping rough on the cold winter night.

At one point, a member of the public joined Hansard on stage to fill in on the drum set for a performance of The Frames’ hit Star Star.

Performers included well-known names like The Riptide Movement. Singer Imelda May joined Hansard for a performance of Haunted, MacGowan’s duet with Sinéad O’Connor, who died in July. Some Dublin Simon service users also performed.

Hansard told the crowd: “Thanks so much, the greatest gift you can give anybody is your time and attention – this has been wonderful.”

Members of the public were asked to donate on - PA