CELEBRITIES, politicians, and former bandmates all flocked to small Irish town of Nenagh in Country Tipperary on Friday to celebrate the life of Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan.

More than an hour before the funeral was due to begin, devoted followers of MacGowan and The Pogues had gathered outside the church.

The actor Johnny Depp was a pallbearer while Irish president Michael D Higgins also turned up to St Mary of the Rosary Church to pay his respects to MacGowan, who died on November 30.

He was 65-years-old.

A handmade sign with “thanks for all the fairytales Shane” was placed on the side of the road nearby the church.

James Grimes, who was wearing a The Pogues T-shirt and came from Longford to attend MacGowan’s funeral, said the singer was “life-changing for me” and that he named his first son after MacGowan.

The National: Johnny Depp was a close friend of Shane MacGowanJohnny Depp was a close friend of Shane MacGowan (Image: Niall Carson)

“I can still remember when I first heard Fairytale Of New York,” he told the PA news agency.

“I pressed the two buttons on the tape recorder to listen to it one night, I had an Irish exam the next morning, and I listened to it until around 1.30am that night, just over and over and over again.”

He said MacGowan’s poetry “along with the music” was what made him special for people.

“I suppose if you weren’t feeling good about yourself, if you looked at him and said ‘Jesus, if he can do it, anyone can do it’.”

As the hearse carrying MacGowan’s remains arrived at the church, his widow Victoria Mary Clarke bowed her head as she touched the coffin of the man she has described as the love of her life.

Soon afterwards, Depp waved to the crowds as he arrived.

The 60-year-old Pirates Of The Caribbean star, a close friend of MacGowan, was dressed on Friday in a black suit, hat and wearing a scarf and dark sunglasses.

The National: Nick Cave arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan at Saint Mary's of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. Nick Cave arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan at Saint Mary's of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. (Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire)

The procession of well-known faces kept on coming, Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave, Hothouse Flowers frontman Liam O’Maonlai, Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream, Game Of Thrones actor Aidan Gillen and former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

Parish priest Father Pat Gilbert captured the mood when welcomed “the world” to the local church.

“We welcome the world of people this great man influenced, encouraged, entertained and touched,” he said.

“Your presence here is very important and a huge statement of the love and esteem we all have and had for this great man.”

MacGowan’s coffin was brought to the front of the church draped in an Irish tricolour flag and placed close to a large black and white photograph of the Pogues singer.

MacGowan’s widow Victoria Mary Clarke presented symbols of her late husband during the funeral mass which included a copy of a Depp album, whom she called a “massive fan” of The Pogues frontman.

The National: Bobby Gillespie arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowanBobby Gillespie arrives for the funeral of Shane MacGowan (Image: Niall Carson)

A Led Zeppelin record, art and lyrics from MacGowan that form a Crock Of God book, a James Joyce novel, a hurling stick and a Tipperary flag were also among the items presented at Saint Mary’s of the Rosary Church in Nenagh.

Clarke was the last person to speak during the ceremony.

She said that MacGowan had always hated funerals and appealed for people to show more compassion.

"Everyone who knew Shane knew how much he hated funerals, it was very hard to get him to go to one,” she said.

"He didn't like the idea of death, he didn't like to talk about his own death.

"He was a genius, a beautiful soul and made a massive contribution.

"Next time you see someone and think they're just an alcoholic or drug addict, stop.

"Just consider giving a bit of compassion and respect.

"That would be my final message."