Wednesday 15 August 2018

'A star that shone bright from the very beginning' - President Higgins leads tributes to Dolores O'Riordan at removal service

Michael D. Higgins leaves Crosss funeral home, Ballyneety on Monday afternoon after paying his respects to Dolores O'Riordan and her family. Photograph Press 22
Michael D. Higgins leaves Crosss funeral home, Ballyneety on Monday afternoon after paying his respects to Dolores O'Riordan and her family. Photograph Press 22

David Raleigh

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

Hundreds turned out at Cross’s Funeral Home, Ballyneety, near the star’s Ballybricken home, to pay their respects to Limerick’s rock queen.

The three remaining members of The Cranberries band - Mike and Noel Hogan and Fergal Lawlor - joined O’Riordan’s mother Eileen along with 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 also present.

The much-loved 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 one of four books of condolences outside the village funeral home, President Higgins spent fifteen minutes inside privately talking to O’Riordan’s loved ones.

Afterwards, paying tribute to the adored songbird, 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 hey need.

“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.”

Also paying tribute, O’Riordan’s former housekeeper and nanny to her children, Kay Duffy, said: “I was Dolores’ 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.”

Duffy, from Bulgaden, Co Limerick, added: “It's very sad. I am so shocked, I can't believe it. Whenever she came home she would give me a phone call.

“She was a very generous woman. We kept in touch and I'd be there for her. She'd phone me for different things. She used to make me laugh. She was very good to me and my family,” she added.

Cathy Crawford, who minded O’Riordan’s son, Taylor, in her pre-school in Donoghmore, Co Limerick, recalled how they would both sing the nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down” to Taylor in the kitchen of her home.

“I had (Dolores’) oldest son, Taylor, in my preschool 16 years ago. Dolores was lovely and she used to come down to the house and wait in the kitchen while (Taylor) was in the school.”

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

Last Sunday, thousands mourned the Limerick star during a four-hour public reposing at St Joseph’s Church in the city.

A huge crowd, including stars from the music industry, are expected at the singer’s funeral mass in St Ailbe’s Church, Balybricken, Tuesday.

The 46-year old mother of three will be laid to rest alongside her late father Terry in Caherelly Cemetery after the 11.30am mass.

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