Shane MacGowan’s mother passed musical talent to son, mourners told

87-year-old had encouraged ‘a fierce sense of individuality’ in her children, Co Tipperary funeral hears

Singer Shane MacGowan is helped from the church after the funeral of his mother Therese MacGowan  at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Silvermines Co Tipperary. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Singer Shane MacGowan is helped from the church after the funeral of his mother Therese MacGowan at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Silvermines Co Tipperary. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Musician Shane MacGowan’s mother had encouraged “ a fierce sense of individuality” in her children, the funeral Mass of Therese MacGowan was told on Sunday.

The Pogues singer-songwriter was joined by family, friends and former neighbours as he said goodbye to his mother at her funeral Mass, where mourners heard that she passed on her own musical talent to her son.

He arrived to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in the village of Silvermines, north Tipperary with his partner Victoria Mary Clarke. Using a wheelchair, the frail-looking musician was assisted into the church .

A large crowd was present in Silvermines to sympathise with the singer , his sister Siobhan and father Maurice as well as other family members . Mrs MacGowan (87) was the first person to die on Irish roads in 2017 when her car crashed into a wall outside Nenagh on New Year’s day.

The low-key Mass was attended by a number of people from the arts and entertainment world including actor Patrick Bergin, artist Guggi, Joey Cashman of The Pogues, singer-songwriter Mundy as well as politicians Mannix Flynn and Alan Kelly and Judge Elizabeth MacGrath who is based in north Tipperary.

Mrs MacGowan’s daughter Siobhan, in her eulogy, said her mother originally came from nearby Carney Commons, a “tiny hamlet” near the banks of the Shannon which had produced some “big characters”.

Therese met Maurice , “a wayward UCD student” , in Dublin in 1951 and “set out to dazzle him, and dazzle him she did,” Siobhan said. She herself was modelling in the city at the time .

They married in 1956 and moved to London where Shane was born in 1957, before Siobhan arrived five years later. “They encouraged in us a fierce sense of individuality,” she said, adding that her mother provided her family with “an abundance of love”.

Siobhan described her mother and father as “the best parents ever in the world,” and said that all who knew Therese spoke about her grace. “Not just grace of movement or manner, but true grace, a grace of the spirit.” She had “a child-like joy and sage mind” and “all felt richer for having known her, with is the mark of a life well-lived”.

Mrs MacGowan lived in Silvermines with her husband, with whom she celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year. The couple spent some time in England before returning to Co Tipperary in 1964.

Parish priest Fr Brendan Moloney said the day she died was “a New Year’s Day of sadness” for the family and the community, with Therese visited by death on her journey home from Mass in Nenagh, “a journey she made every Sunday”. However, that sadness was eased by “the joy of having Therese in your lives for so many years” and by the memories.

He told mourners that Therese inherited many skills and talents in music, song and dance from her ancestors, and she won numerous awards. “So many people said she could have made a professional career, her singing was so good. She passed that international stardom to Shane and, of course, Siobhan you acquired the literary skills of writing”.