Shane MacGowan’s wife says Christmas Day without Pogues singer physically hurts

The wife of Shane MacGowan has said her first Christmas without The Pogues frontman “physically hurts”.

The musician, who died weeks before he was due to celebrate his 66th birthday on Christmas Day, was best known for co-writing and singing the gritty festive song Fairytale Of New York.

In a Monday Instagram post, Victoria Mary Clarke wrote: “Today is really really hard much harder than I expected it to be. I just can’t stop crying and I want to be with him so much it physically hurts.

“I don’t know how people get through this but I do know that they do and people do feel joy even after they lose their person.”

“Shane always said that even though he was born on Christmas Day he was much more focused on it being Jesus birthday and he felt like that was the most important thing about Christmas so I am asking for Jesus and the angels to help me today.”

In a follow-up post the journalist said she had a “transcendent experience” after she went to Mass, adding that it felt “warm and welcoming” to be back in West Cork.

She said: “I was feeling really desolate this morning but I was lucky enough to be able to get to Mass in Cuil Aodha home of the famous choir led by Peadar O Riada.

“It was a transcendent experience to feel the joy and love in the church and in the congregation and in the healing voices of the choir.

“Shane always loved to take Holy Communion and he could really get a buzz from it and I definitely found a level of peace that had been feeling out of reach.

“Just the sound of the beautiful voices and the incense and the beauty of the Irish language being spoken was glorious and healing.”

She added: “It feels so warm and welcoming and supportive to back in West Cork where none of the roads are signposted and you have to learn to see in the dark.”

Clarke had previously campaigned to make Fairytale Of New York land this year’s Christmas number one but it lost out to Wham!’s Last Christmas.

She supported the British band claiming the top spot saying she “loved” George Michael, who died on Christmas Day in 2016 aged 53, and his band Wham!, which also included Andrew Ridgeley.

Originally released in 1987, MacGowan’s track has never reached the top of the UK charts, peaking at number two and beaten to the Christmas number one the year it was released by the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of Always On My Mind.

He wrote the song with fellow founder of The Pogues, Jem Finer, and he sang it alongside English singer Kirsty MacColl, who died in December 2000.

Shane MacGowan funeral
Johnny Depp was among those who carried the coffin of Shane MacGowan following his funeral at Saint Mary’s of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary (Damien Eagers/PA)

MacGowan’s funeral was held in Co Tipperary in December and featured performances from Australian musician Nick Cave as well as dancing in the aisles of Saint Mary of the Rosary Church in Nenagh.

It also featured celebrity guests including Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and Game Of Thrones star Aidan Gillen along with politicians such as former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Irish president Michael D Higgins.

The ceremony’s date of December 8, which also saw hundreds gathered in Dublin as his funeral cortege passed the streets before travelling to the funeral, also coincided with what would have marked Sinead O’Connor’s 57th birthday.

The Irish singer, who died in July, was a close friend of MacGowan.