‘His legacy was putting his own stamp on a song such that it became the definitive version of a song for others to come along and emulate.’ –John Sheahan.
The mass was celebrated by Fr Michael Cleary at the Church of the Holy Child in Whitehall and The Dubliners performed during the ceremony.
Kelly’s brothers, John, Jimmy and Paddy carried his coffin along with banjo player Barney McKenna. Luke Kelly’s family and friends were joined by people from the worlds of television, theatre, radio, politics, sport and music. Among the mourners were Ronnie Drew, John Sheehan, Ciarán Bourke, Barney McKenna, Jim McCann, Phil Coulter, Finbar Furey, Noel Pearson, The Wolfe Tones, actress, Siobhán McKenna, and soccer star, Pat Jennings. Also in attendance was Labour Party senator Michael D Higgins whose wife, Sabina Coyne, had been bridesmaid at Kelly’s marriage to Deirdre O’Connell in 1965. Other political figures to pay their respects included Charles Haughey, Albert Reynolds, Tomás Mac Giolla, Nöel Browne and Joe Cahill.
The town he loved so well said farewell to Luke. The funeral Mass ended with many people in tears as his coffin was wheeled from the church to the strains of ‘The Auld Triangle.’
In Glasnevin Cemetery, a headstone bears a simple inscription: ‘Luke Kelly – Dubliner’.