Remembering Sinéad O’Connor 1966-2023

Sinéad O'Connor

Sinéad O'Connor Image: Facebook/Sinéad O'Connor

AS word spreads across the globe of the heartbreaking passing of Irish singer and activist Sinéad O’Connor we reflect on her life. Born in Dublin on December 8, 1966, she was the third of five children. Sinéad’s tumultuous upbringing affected her childhood dramatically and continued to haunt her throughout her life. Her parents, after serious marital problems, separated, Sinéad along with her two older brothers went to live with their mother but they suffered terrible physical abuse. Sinéad sang about this period of her life in the haunting song Fire On Babylon.

It was when she was sent to a reform school where her beautiful singing voice was noticed. In 1983 with the help of her Irish teacher, she recorded four songs and went on to join a band Ton Ton Macoute. But in 1985 her mother died in a car accident and despite their troubled relationship, it was a blow for Sinéad who left her band and moved to London where she met and collaborated with U2 guitarist The Edge. In 1987 she recorded her album and received her first Grammy nomination but it was the success of Nothing Compares 2 U that put Sinéad on the map. The heart-wrenching music video featuring the close-up of her face, those huge eyes that dominated her face, and the two tears running down her cheeks along with the lyrics referencing her mother is iconic. This song, written and composed by Prince, stayed at number one in Ireland for 11 weeks. Millions of copies were sold and she won a Grammy which she turned down saying ‘I don’t accept awards that have been given to me for my material success.’

Throughout her career, Sinéad drew controversy and certainly divided opinion never afraid to speak her mind or give her voice to those who needed one. Just earlier this year she dedicated her award at the RTÉ Choice Music Awards to ‘each and every member of Ireland’s refugee community.’ She went on to say ‘You’re very welcome in Ireland. I love you very much and I wish you happiness.’ Sinéad received a standing ovation.

Sinéad suffered with her mental health disclosing on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007 that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she was also diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. She stated that she was flung into surgical menopause which caused her to have suicidal thoughts. Sinéad was a tortured soul who suffered even more heartache when her son Shane passed away in January 2022 stating Shane had ‘ended his earthly struggle.’

Religion was always part of Sinéad’s life, on a continuous quest to find a saviour of some kind. She credited her Christian faith with giving her the strength to live through and overcome the effects of her child abuse. She said ‘I think God saves everybody whether they want to be saved or not. So when we die we are all going home…’

Sinéad O’Connor nothing compares to you. May you rest in peace with your beloved son. Ar dheis Dé go Raibh a hAnam.

Tributes pour in from around the world:

Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinéad O’Connor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-EF60neguk

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!

Comments


    • Joseph

      27 July 2023 • 09:15

      So sad.. But a great read…. RIP Sinéad 🙏

    • Bernie

      27 July 2023 • 09:27

      Beautifully written

    Comments are closed.