Dolores O’Riordan’s mother says intense fame was ‘difficult’

Eileen O’Riordan remembers ‘great legacy’ of singer who would have been 50 on Monday

The mother of the late Cranberries singer, Dolores O’Riordan, has paid tribute to her “special” daughter just days before what would have been her 50th birthday.

In an interview on the Late Late Show on RTÉ Eileen O’Riordan said she knew that Dolores had a quality that set her apart from her earliest years.

“She was a beautiful baby. I remember the day I brought her home from hospital in the carry cot. She was very good as a baby. She was a bit of a tomboy when she started walking and talking. Bit of a rebel. She was involved in everything. A musical child. Always liked to sing.

“She always wanted to be a singer/rockstar/a musician. She played the organ in the local church and I remember we had confirmation — not our confirmation. She sang for the Archbishop. When he came out everyone wanted a photograph and he said ‘I am not having any photographs until I see the girl who sang Panis Angelicus.‘ Twas then I knew she had something special. She was about 12 at the time. She sang after (as an adult) for the Pope. I was very proud.”


Eileen admitted that she found it hard to listen to Cranberries recordings.

“If I am out in a group I can. If I am on my own at home it sets me back thinking. I find it hard to listen to the music. But it makes me very happy and very proud. She did a lot and left a great legacy behind.”

She told host Ryan Tubridy that her faith had sustained her through dark days following the loss of her then 46-year-old daughter in 2018.

“I wouldn’t be able to live without my faith. I am very lucky to have it. It keeps me going.”

Ellen has been unable to shed a tear about the death of her daughter.

“I would cry about Molly (her granddaughter) going away and that but I can’t cry after Dolores. I haven’t cried yet. I have no idea (why). In her last few years she was sick so maybe that is it. She is happy now. I am sure she is happy now. I talk to her and pray to her all the time.”

Eileen said that Dolores’s daughter, Molly, who was backstage was her pride and joy. She said 20-year-old Molly had long hair for many years and she “got a fright” when she cut it short because she was the image of her late mother.

“It was Dolores but not exactly. She is very like [HER].”

Eileen stressed that Dolores was very young when fame hit.

“I wanted her to go to university of course but she made me a promise that if I was to give her one year with the band and ‘If I don’t make a success of it I will go back to University.‘ It was very fast.”

She added that her daughter was uncomfortable with the intensity of fame and celebrity.

“In the beginning I remember saying to somebody that it would never effect her. But I didn’t know what it was about myself. It takes away your freedom. You can’t go shopping. You can’t go out. There is a lot of things you can’t do.

“I remember walking down O’Connell Street in Limerick. We were going somewhere. And it was pointless. We just couldn’t. You can’t be rude to people. And they were all very nice but it was difficult.”

Eileen said that Dolores spoke openly about her troubles and was always upfront and honest with people. She said that she “missed her terribly.”

“I miss her every hour of the day. I talk to her. She got a posthumous doctorate in the University and I had to accept it for her and when I went in there was all these microphones and I was giving out to her (in my head). I went in and I was grand. She helped me. She helps me.”

Ms O’Riordan passed away on January 15th, 2018. Her inquest in September 2018 heard that she died by drowning due to alcohol intoxication. The singer was found submerged in the bath in her room at London’s Park Lane Hilton hotel. Ms O’Riordan died as a result of a “tragic accident,” the Coroner said.

The Cranberries enjoyed huge success in the 1990’s with tracks including Zombie and Linger. Ms O’Riordan — who was also a member of alternative rock group DARK — had been working on a new studio album with The Cranberries in the months before her death.

The mother-of-three had been in London to record a cover of Zombie with hard rock band Bad Wolves when she died. Sales and streams of The Cranberries’ back catalogue rocketed by 1,000 per cent in the days after her death. Her 50th birthday will occur on Monday, September 6th.