Monday 25 June 2018

Applause as O’Riordan coffin is carried out of church to Cranberries song

Mourners heard about her inquiring mind and the ideals she shared with Martin Luther King.

Mourners carry Dolores O’Riordan's coffin following her funeral (Niall Carson/PA)
Mourners carry Dolores O’Riordan's coffin following her funeral (Niall Carson/PA)

By Ed Carty, Press Association

Dolores O’Riordan’s haunting voice filled the air as family and friends packed a small church in rural Ireland to say a final goodbye.

While the singer’s deep faith resonated throughout the mass, it was her distinctive lilt which brought emotion to the fore for the hundreds of mourners.

As her coffin was carried out of St Ailbe’s in Ballybricken the poignancy of her lyrics in the song When You’re Gone struck a chord and prompted spontaneous applause.

The star was brought out to the sound of her own voice and the words “And I miss you, when you’re gone”.

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Eileen O’Riordan following the funeral of her daughter (Niall Carson/PA)

At the head of the funeral party, the singer’s mother Eileen O’Riordan hugged and embraced her grandchildren as she waited for the brief journey for private burial.

This was a traditional, religious service in a modest, pebble-dashed church in the heart of the Irish countryside, only a few miles from where O’Riordan dreamed of stardom as a child.

Retired parish priest and family friend Canon Liam McNamara recalled his first meeting with her in 1989.

“The memory is indelibly written on my mind,” he said.

“There she is, sitting at the keyboard, playing and singing with the choir.”

Mourners heard about her inquiring mind and the ideals she shared with Martin Luther King that “each of us has a duty to work earnestly to discover and develop our talents”.

“These talents are to be used for the honour and glory of God, and for the benefit of others,” the priest said.

O’Riordan’s voice was described during the mass as far-reaching.

As well as her own songwriting, the service included a recording of a duet of Ave Maria she performed with Luciano Pavarotti.

Later mourners heard her sing the moving Panis Angelicus.

At the outset of the mass, symbols associated with O’Riordan’s life were brought to the altar.

Her niece Eileen and a long-time friend brought forward a guitar and a platinum disc award.

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Band member Mike Hogan and his wife Siobhan arrive for the funeral (Niall Carson/PA)

A picture of Our Lady of Dolours, after whom Dolores was named, was placed at the altar, as was a book of poetry.

Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Kieran O’Reilly spoke in glowing terms of O’Riordan’s legacy.

“Her gifts have resonated in the lives of many and will continue to do so as her music and her songs will continue to be played and listened to,” he said.

The funeral was absent of the trappings normally associated with celebrity lifestyles and farewells.

A few household names from the music and TV industry in Ireland came to pay respects including Ali Hewson, wife of U2 frontman Bono and music promoter Denis Desmond.

Outside were a smattering of locals and a few fans, there to pay tribute but keen not to impose.

Four Italians had arrived in the days since O’Riordan’s death.

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A hearse leaves following the funeral (Niall Carson/PA)

All aged in their 30s, they had met while attending Cranberries concerts and solo performances by the singer since the early 2000s.

Alessio Unfer from Milan said: “I think we didn’t expect it to be like this. We expected something maybe bigger, it was strange for us.”

Mara Bertoldo, from the Veneto region, met O’Riordan several times while attending concerts.

“I personally felt like I was supposed to be here,” she said.

“I’m just a fan. We spoke with her family and her kids, but they were really kind and supportive.”

As the cortege left the church grounds, Ms Bertoldo added: “She was an inspiration to us. She was a very nice girl and always kind.”

Near the head of the funeral party mourners in one car wound windows down to blast out Cranberries hit Dreams.

O’Riordan, 46, was found dead in a London hotel room last week.

Press Association

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