Mourners gather for funeral of Irish country music 'king' Big Tom McBride
Mourners have gathered at Saint Patrick's Church in Oram, County Monaghan, for the funeral of country music star Big Tom McBride.
Singer Daniel O'Donnell was among those who arrived at the church on Friday morning.
Speaking before he went into the church, O'Donnell said: "We'll remember him for his music.
"You think people like Tom are going to go on forever.
"And in the country music circle, there's no question, that he was the king, and he will be the king.
"He may be gone, but the king will live on, in everybody's hearts and certainly in his music."
He added: "It's a huge loss here for the people. The main factor is that he was one of the people, no matter where he went.
"He didn't carry the title of king or stardom very well.
"He was a real down-to-earth man. And he just had a connection with people that you can't explain, other than you've seen it and understood it and were present to experience it.
"And this is testament today with the amount of people that are here and the amount of people that were there on Wednesday to pay tribute to him."
He added: "Everybody has a song, and numerous Big Tom songs are special.
"But we'll remember him for the man as well - the humble man who I suppose went to the top of his world but yet was as grounded as anybody could ever be."
"It's an honour to be here."
Big Tom died on Tuesday aged 81.
During the funeral mass Fr Leo Creelman told the congregation it was a "difficult and sad day for a local family ... for this parish, for the local community, for the world of country music and for many, many people throughout our country and beyond".
He added: "Big Tom had an amazing presence when he walked into a room or onto a stage. He was a man big in stature, matched up with an even bigger heart. Despite all his success and fame, he always remained humble and down to earth and first and foremost a family man.
"He was referred to as a legend, a giant, an icon, a king, labels often liberally thrown out about others, but titles that Big Tom richly deserved and earned after decades of success in the country music scene."
Earlier this week, thousands of mourners queued to pay their respects to the star at a public wake close to his home in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.
Country music lovers flocked to Oram GAA social club, where McBride’s remains were laid out in a coffin in front of a big portrait of the star.
Books of condolence were left for mourners to sign their name or leave a note of their favourite memories.
McBride’s career spanned more than five decades, culminating in his induction into the Irish Country Music Awards Hall of Fame in June 2016.
He will be laid to rest in the family plot beside his late wife, Rose.
Belfast Telegraph Digital