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(Credit: Press)


Fontaines D.C. pay their respects to inspirational Margaret Keane

Irish favourites Fontaines D.C. have spoken to the family of late Margaret Keane, an Irish lady who served as muse for the band’s newest composition, ‘In ár gCroíthe go deo’. The band came across the story in 2020, and were strangely moved by Keane’s decision to have the epitaph inscribed in the Irish language.

Keane spent much of her life in Coventry, and was to be buried there, a court of the Church of England decided that the Irish phrase could be interpreted as “political” or “provocative” if displayed without an English translation.

Naturally, the decision proved to be provocative among members of the Irish diaspora, and Fontaines DC’s Grian Chatten made his opinion known to NME when they discussed the ruling. “The whole situation was very triggering for me. It broke my heart,” Chatten told NME. “I want to say that the family’s acknowledgement of the song is really validating, but it’s not an award. All I care about is that we have their blessing to release the tune, which is the most important thing.”

The band sent the Keane family a copy of ‘In ár gCroíthe go deo.’ The group later met the family at the grave, leading the family to respond to their presence with a tweet: “Deeply moving today as we finally met @fontainesdublin who came to pay their respects to mum at her resting place.”

The news is a direct contrast to what occurred 20 years earlier when Indian-born, Irish comedian Spike Milligan was laid to rest at St Thomas Church in Winchelsea, East Sussex. Milligan famously quipped that he wished to buried under the slogan, “I told you I was ill,” but the Chichester diocese refused to permit this type of epitaph, considering it too irreverent to be placed in a place of great meditation and journey.

A compromise of sorts was reached when it was written in Irish: ‘Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite.’ Milligan was buried under a flag of Ireland. Milligan spent much of his life in England, but like Peter O’ Toole, resolutely insisted that he was an Irishman, in good times and bad.