Mark Sheehan obituary: A ‘gorgeous soul’ for whom music was an escape (2024)

Born: October 29th, 1976

Died: April 14th, 2023

Mark Sheehan, co-founder and lead guitarist of The Script, one of Ireland’s most successful pop/rock bands, was a highly regarded songwriter and guitarist whose demeanour was personified by an authentic gentleness, a sharp sense of humour, and a willingness to inspire younger musicians. He died in hospital following a brief illness at the age of 46.

Mark Sheehan was born in Mount Brown in the Liberties on October 29th, 1976. He was the son of Gerard and Rachel Sheehan, who are both now deceased – his father died in 1990 and his mother in 2006. He lived on James’s Street, to where he would return as a musician to write and record songs in a small back garden studio he called “the Madhouse”.


Following a phase in his mid-teens which he would regretfully describe in a 2009 Hot Press interview as having been characterised by “robbing cars… setting stuff on fire… breaking into places… shoplifting…” his love of music saved him. Music, he said in a Balcony TV appearance, gave him a sense “that I could break away. I know it sounds like a cliche, but to me, as a kid, that was my way out”.

Mark Sheehan obituary: A ‘gorgeous soul’ for whom music was an escape (5)

Sheehan’s lifestyle choices shifted dramatically at the age of 15 when he started a career in entertainment as a dancer and then a dance instructor at the now non-operational Dublin-based Digges Lane Dance Studio.

In 1996, he joined the pop band Mytown. The boy band initially attracted interest from two of Ireland’s major music managers, Louis Walsh and Paul McGuinness. A more defined manager was Dublin business owner Eamonn Maguire, who in 1998 arranged a showcase gig at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

Following the showcase, one of Mytown’s original members was replaced by Sheehan’s childhood friend, singer Danny O’Donoghue. Having been contacted by an A&R executive from Universal Music Group (UMG), Mytown went to New York for a second showcase gig that was attended by Doug Morris, then chairman and chief executive of UMG, who promptly signed the band. “We had a whale of a time,” Sheehan told “We didn’t want to go up there and sing and dance like a boy band, so we brought our instruments and played a more personal show for everybody. They just flipped out.”

In 1999, a debut album – simply called Mytown – was recorded and released in the US. Unusually for a music act perceived as a boy band, many of the album’s songs were co-written by Sheehan, O’Donoghue, and another original Mytown member, Terry Daly; the album was also mostly co-produced by Sheehan who, at such an early point in his career, was proving himself to be an adept all-rounder.

[The Script: ‘Find a band who sing as honestly as us. I dare you’]

After Mytown split up in 2001, Sheehan and O’Donoghue moved to Los Angeles and Canada where the pair threw themselves into advancing their recording and production skills, as well as their songwriting. They worked with the likes of Boyz II Men, TLC, Britney Spears and Pharrell Williams. That same year, Sheehan and O’Donoghue formed The Script, and along with fellow Dubliner Glen Power, moved to London.

In 2005, The Script signed to Phonogenic Records, an imprint of Sony Music, and in 2008 released their self-titled debut album. Within a year, the band’s third single, Breakeven, sold more than one million copies in the US. The path to full-blown commercial success had begun.

However, even during the early days of his career, Sheehan knew that such success was not necessarily his primary goal. “I want to stress,” he said to, “that we don’t want to be famous… Obviously, it comes with it, but success on our end is about our music more than anything else. I think people will realise that we are doing it for the music.”

[Mark Sheehan: Humble driving force who guided The Script to worldwide success]

In the summer of 2022, Sheehan decided not to be part of the US section of The Script’s Greatest Hits tour so he could be with his family. “It’s his story to tell,” O’Donoghue said to the Sunday World, “but… his children needed a father and his wife needed a husband.”

Among the wealth of tributes paid to Sheehan after this death, fellow Liberties-born songwriter and singer Imelda May described him as “an old comrade and fellow Liberties child” who was “funny, sound, calm, down to earth… a gorgeous soul… always pleasure to chat to”.

Mark Sheehan is survived by his wife Rina and his three children, Cameron, Avery and Lil.

Mark Sheehan obituary: A ‘gorgeous soul’ for whom music was an escape (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated:

Views: 5481

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.