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27th Jul 2023

Russell Crowe recalls lovely encounter with Sinéad O’Connor outside Dublin pub

Simon Kelly

“She was a hero of mine.”

As news of the untimely death of Irish singer-songwriter and activist Sinéad O’Connor broke yesterday, tributes flooded in from every corner of the world as it became clear just how many hearts the Dubliner touched throughout her lifetime.

Many recalled encounters with the ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ singer or simply the effect she had on their lives, from her incredible music to her iconic cultural moments in a changing Ireland.

One touching encounter from actor Russell Crowe stood out in particular, as it perfectly summed up what it was like to meet Sinéad. No matter how famous one might be, it seems like everyone was bowled over by her presence.

Russell Crowe’s beautiful story of his encounter with Sinéad O’Connor

Speaking on Twitter, Crowe said:

“Last year, working in Ireland, having a pint in the cold outside a Dalkey pub with some new friends, a woman with purpose strode past us. Puffy parker zipped to the nape and her bowed head covered in a scarf.

“One of my new friends muttered an exclamation, jumped up and pursued the woman. Thirty metres down the road the friend and the woman embraced and he waived me over. There under streetlights with mist on my breath, I met Sinéad. She looked in my eyes, and uttered with disarming softness ‘oh, it’s you Russell’.

“She came with us back to the table and sat in the cold and ordered a hot tea. In a conversation without fences we roamed through the recent Dublin heatwave, local politics, American politics, the ongoing fight for indigenous recognition in many places, but particularly in Australia, her warm memory of New Zealand, faith, music, movies and her brother the writer. I had the opportunity to tell her she was a hero of mine.

“When her second cup was taking on the night air, she rose, embraced us all and strode away into the fog-dimmed streetlights. We sat there the four of us and variously expressed the same thing. What an amazing woman. Peace be with your courageous heart Sinéad.”

Sinéad O’Connor dies, aged 56

O’Connor’s family released a statement on Wednesday evening announcing the death of Sinéád. The statement read that her friends and family were devastated and requested privacy at this difficult time.

The acclaimed, and multi-award winning singer from Dublin released 10 studio albums over the course of her music career. Her cover of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U was named the number one world single by the Billboard Music Awards, in 1990.

Sinead O’Connor is survived by her three children. Her son, Shane, died in January 2022, aged 17.

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