I used to hate Sinéad O’Connor

I used to hate Sinéad O’Connor.

That was back in 1987 or thereabouts when she burst on the scene first with “Mandinka”.

I and my brother had a little shop in Glasnevin around that time and her voice was forever blaring out on our shop radio. Back before you needed a licence to play a radio in your shop.

Before IMRO. Or at least IMRO had not come across our consciousness if they were around.

I could not understand how such a pretty girl could shave all her hair off and wear doc marten boots. And spout such affected horseshit.

She came from the south side of Dublin, she had a fancy, Southside, soft spoken, affected accent.

It was all a crock of bullshit, a show, a pretence as far as I was concerned.

And then she wrapped Gay Byrne, the nation’s father figure on the Late, Late Show around her finger with her long, fluttering eyelashes.

And then she went in for preaching all that pseudo-religious bullshit and became a priest, became a nun, became a Muslim.

Jesus wept.

But as we both got older, I recognised her talent, her sincerity, her struggles and vulnerabilities.  I could empathise with her worries and concerns as she became a parent.

And I came to recognise that she sang like an angel.

And I came to love her, like most Irish people.

Sinéad O’Connor. R.I.P.

Rest easy now.