Northern Ireland news

Rod Stewart and his band pay visit to Kilmainham Gaol

Rod Stewart pictured with his band at Kilmainham Gaol. Picture by Rod Stewart/ Twitter

SINGER Rod Stewart has told of how he was left "moved" by a visit to the church where Irish freedom fighter Grace Gifford was married before her husband was executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising.

The rockstar and his band visited Kilmainham Gaol this week ahead of their appearance at Dublin's 3 Arena.

Sir Rod (74) is famed for his rendition of the Irish ballad Grace, that tells the story of 1916 Rising leader Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford, who were married in the Dublin prison.

They wed just seven hours before he was executed.

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Grace was initially written by Frank and Seán O’Meara in 1985, but was picked up by Sir Rod after he heard Celtic supporters singing it.

The singer, who also performed in Belfast this week, spoke previously about visiting the chapel "where it all happened so I could understand the song".

"It really is the most gorgeous song," he added.

And this week he paid another visit to Kilmainham when he took his band to the prison to learn of the history.

Posting a photo to his Twitter page of himself with members of his band, he wrote: "Grace remains a most tragic love story to me.

"Today I took some of my band mates to show them the Kilmainham Gaol where it all happened.

"It's impossible not to be moved and we were."

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Sir Rod included the ballad on his 30th studio album, Blood Red Roses, and said at the time that he recognised it might be seen as a "controversial" choice.

"It’s not really an IRA song and was written in the Eighties," he said last year.

"We’ve been singing it at my house for six months now. Even my boys (Alastair and Aiden) are singing it."

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