President attends removal of Dolores O’Riordan in Co Limerick

‘It’s so profoundly sad that someone so young is taken from us’ - Michael D Higgins

Irish Times Culture Editor Hugh Linehan looks back at the life of Dolores O'Riordan, the shy Limerick girl who went on to achieve global success as a songwriter and lead singer with The Cranberries.


President Michael D Higgins led tributes to Dolores O’Riordan at the singer’s removal service in Co Limerick on Monday night.

Hundreds of people arrived at Cross’s Funeral Home, Ballyneety, near the star’s Ballybricken home, to pay their respects to the Cranberries lead singer.

The 46-year-old mother of three was found dead in a London hotel a week ago.

The three remaining members of The Cranberries – Mike and Noel Hogan, and Fergal Lawlor – joined O’Riordan’s mother, Eileen, and her five brothers and sister at the funeral home.

The singer’s partner, Ole Koretsky, who also played with O’Riordan in the alt-rock band D.A.R.K., was present.

The singer was laid out in an open coffin with rosary beads around her hands, next to photographs of her meeting the late Pope John Paul II and of her performing with her bandmates.

After signing a book of condolences outside the village funeral home, President Higgins spent 15 minutes inside talking to O’Riordan’s family and friends.

Afterwards, he said: “I think it’s very important to pay tribute to the contribution Dolores made, and I also wanted to meet her mother, Eileen, and her fabulous huge family of nephews and nieces who were very important to her.

“It’s so profoundly sad that someone so young is taken from us, but it’s equally important also to pay tribute to [her] work and music. It is also to the incredible credit of all those who have appreciated the music and the songs and the performances and the band, that they have come out in such numbers to make their tribute. It’s so appropriate and it is generous, and I hope that her family will get all the support they need.”

He added: “Limerick is very very proud of [her]. As her teachers have been saying, she was a star that shone bright from the very beginning, and I wish her peace. Our sympathies go out to her mother, Eileen, and her family.”

’A lovely family’

Also paying tribute, O’Riordan’s former housekeeper and nanny to her children, Kay Duffy, said: “I was Dolores’s housekeeper for many a year, when she was living in Kilmallock, and she couldn’t have treated me better than what she did. They are a lovely family.”

Cathy Crawford, who minded O’Riordan’s son Taylor in her preschool in Donoghmore, 16 years ago, recalled how they would both sing the nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down to the boy in the kitchen of her home.

“She was a lovely, lovely person, a very kind person. It’s very sad.”

Meanwhile, a large crowd attended a candle lit vigil in Arthur’s Quay Park in Limerick where local musicians played their favourite Cranberries songs in memory of the star.

A major Garda traffic management plan was put in place around Ballyneety village for the removal service on Monday and for the funeral Mass on Tuesday of the Cranberries lead singer.

On Sunday, thousands of people attended a public reposal at St Joseph’s Church in Limerick city.

Ms O’Riordan’s remains were brought from Cross’s Funeral Home, Ballyneety, to St Ailbe’s Church, Ballybricken, on Monday night. Her funeral Mass will take place at 11.30am on Tuesday.

Police ruled out foul play when O’Riordan’s body was found, and an inquest into her death has been adjourned to April.

The singer had been in London to record a cover of Zombie, one of The Cranberries’ biggest-selling songs, with hard-rock band Bad Wolves.