'She's with us in spirit' - Dolores O'Riordan's mother accepts honourary doctorate on behalf of late daughter
THE heartbroken mother of Dolores O’Riordan fought back tears today as she accepted an Honourary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Limerick, on behalf of her deceased rock star daughter.
The body of the world famous singer with The Cranberries was found submerged in a bath in her bedroom in a London hotel, on January 15th last year.
An inquest last September found the iconic performer had drowned while intoxicated with alcohol.
Honourary Doctorates of Letters were also bestowed on O’Riordan’s bandmates, siblings Noel Hogan (guitarist), and Mike Hogan (bassist), as well as drummer Fergal Lawler who was unable to attend today’s event.
O’Riordan’s devastated mother, Eileen, who clutched the college gown that her daughter would have been wearing to accept her award, admitted the special day was tinged with sadness: “It is (sad), it is really, you know... I suppose we have to move on haven’t we...we have to.”
“I know that (Dolores) is happy and she is in heaven, and that makes me happy,” she added.
Eileen, a devout catholic and a member of her local church choir in Ballybricken, and who is also her local parish church sacristan, continued: “I just wish she was here. I’d say she is with us in spirit.”
Flanked by the Hogan brothers, she expressed delight the band decided to record a final album in memory of Dolores.
However, Eileen revealed she has not yet listened to the first single All Over Now, released last Tuesday on her daughter’s first anniversary, which is taken from The Cranberries final new album In The End, due out on April 26: “I think it’s great. She really loved it... I didn’t hear it yet -I didn’t listen to it yet.”
“What I find very hard is somebody else singing (the band’s) songs. I find that kind of (difficult),” she added.
Accepting her daughter’s award was “a great honour”.
- Read more: Fans of Dolores O'Riordan listen to new single 'All Over Now' at Limerick memorial on first anniversary
“I feel awed really. I find it hard to comprehend and take it all in,” she added.
Dolores wasn't aware how much she was loved by her native city and county, Eileen said.
“No, I don’t think she did (know). She loved Limerick and she was very proud of Limerick and she was happier in Limerick than anyplace else.”
“I didn’t realise how much she was loved. I keep telling the children how much everyone loved her, and what a support it is, and how comforting it is to us as a family.”
For a few brief moments, smiles replaced their sadness at missing Dolores, as Noel Hogan joked that O’Riordan would have got “a skit” and “a great kick out of this”.
A few years before O’Riordan’s death, she and the rest of the band were approached by UL about the idea of being awarded Honourary Doctorates, however it was not to be, due to the band’s work commitments.
“Even when this was brought up about four years ago I remember (Dolores) telling her brothers, who had different Degrees, that she’d be more qualified than they were...That was her personality so I think she’d be really loving this today,” Hogan added, continuing the joke.
“Proud” of getting their honourary awards, the Limerick brothers acknowledged their emotions were also “very mixed” by celebrating with their families without Dolores.
In a final tribute to their legendary front woman, Noel said: “It feels the thirty years of hard work has brought us to this moment. It’s very mixed, but I think the way to look at it is like a celebration of Dolores and the band.”
- Read more: Fans continue to make 'pilgrimage' to Dolores O’Riordan’s grave one year on from her tragic death