Shane MacGowan’s widow issues appeal as Pogues singer’s 1916 Easter Rising rifle is ‘stolen’

The widow of Shane MacGowan has issued an appeal after the musician’s rifle from the 1916 Easter Rising was reported missing on Wednesday (1 May), having “most likely been stolen”.

The 65-year-old Pogues frontman, known for “Fairytale of New York” and “A Rainy Night in Soho”, died in November last year one week after he had been discharged from hospital. MacGowan revealed he was diagnosed with encephalitis in 2022 in a video posted to social media on New Year’s Eve.

His death was confirmed by his wife and Irish journalist Victoria Mary Clarke who said in a statement: “Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life”.

Now, his widow has revealed the sad news that the historic rifle which also held huge sentimental value to the musician has been “stolen” in a post on X/Twitter on Wednesday (1 May).

“Shane’s 1916 rifle has gone missing, most likely been stolen,” Clarke wrote. “It was a birthday gift to ⁦@ShaneMacGowan⁩ from a dear musician friend and it was used in the GPO so it was historically significant.”

The GPO stands for General Post Office and was the headquarters of the Irish Volunteers when an Irish Republic was declared, before the group surrendered to British forces after a week.

Despite having been born in Kent, MacGowan who was deeply passionate about Ireland and his music was heavily influenced by Irish culture.

Clarke and MacGowan married in 2018 before the singer passed away in November 2023 (Victoriamary/Twitter/shanemacgowanofficial/Instagram)
Clarke and MacGowan married in 2018 before the singer passed away in November 2023 (Victoriamary/Twitter/shanemacgowanofficial/Instagram)

“It was a Lienfield 303 and it has H Munn etched on it,” Clarke continued.

Supporters shared their sympathies as they said: “That’s evil, who does something like that, I hope you get it again. Good luck”.

Others hoped the item had been misplaced or lost, rather than stolen.

The singer with the missing rifle (@Victoriamary/Twitter)
The singer with the missing rifle (@Victoriamary/Twitter)

“I hope Shane’s rifle turns up,” said one fan. “If someone has taken it, that’s disgusting. Maybe it’s been misplaced, I know a rifle isn’t small, but could someone have moved it?”

The Pogues star and Irish author Clarke were married in an intimate ceremony at Copenhagen City Hall in 2018, surrounded by their loved ones – they had celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary shortly before the artist’s death.

The Independent has contacted Clarke for comment.