Greg Daly and Chai Brady
Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has praised Cranberries’ frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan as an artist of deep spirituality after her sudden death in London on Monday.
He said her “rise to stardom gave a huge amount of belief to young people locally at the time. She was a true child of Limerick; talented, honest, full of soul and courageous.
“And she never lost sight of who she was and where she was from,” Dr Leahy said.
He recalled how she “often spoke about her spirituality and how important that was to her and, of course, she met Pope John Paul II.
She spoke of taking a lot of influence for her music from her spirituality. Limerick and the world has lost a kind, soft-hearted, talented soul,” he said.
Meanwhile, local priests have said that there is a deep sense of tragedy in the city after the singer’s death.
Ms O’Riordan’s family had been “devastated” by the news, Brickenmore parish priest Fr James Walton told The Irish Catholic, adding that her death at the age of 46 had shocked the community.
“Talking to people I’ve met, everybody is shocked, and very saddened,” he said.
“The one word I keep hearing is ‘tragedy’– and such a talent that was there,” according to Fr Walton.
“Nobody knows what to say – there’s wall-to-wall media coverage, but everyone here’s just trying to get their own thoughts around it,” he added.
Redemptorist Fr John Goode, who served as chaplain in Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ when Ms O’Riordan was a student there in the 1980s, said her voice had made her stand out in her schooldays. “I remember her as having a very distinctive singing voice – there was a unique quality about it, and it would captivate your attention immediately,” he said.
Describing people as “deeply shocked” by the news, he said he found it difficult to believe she had died so young. “She was such a gifted and talented woman – it’s a great loss,” he said.
Ms O’Riordan frequently spoke about her Catholic faith and the importance of prayer in her life. Her mother – with whom she was very close – named her in honour of Our Lady of the Seven Dolors.
Fr Tony O’Riordan SJ, who spent six years as parish priest in Moyross, Co. Limerick, said Ms O’Riordan was a “great ambassador” for the city.
“Obviously we relate to her as fans, but we also think that she’s a mother and a wife and a daughter, her family comes to mind very quickly so our thoughts are with them,” he said.
‘I loved Pope John Paul II’ – Dolores
Singing for St John Paul II was one of the highlights of Dolores O’Riordan’s career.
Speaking to The Irish News last year, the late Cranberries singer said her mother had hoped she would consider a religious life, but that while she had chosen a career in music she was still able to make one of her mother’s dreams come true.
“I was invited to sing at the Vatican several times; it was a real honour,” she said. “I was chuffed to see inside the place. But one of the best things was taking my mum to meet the late Pope John Paul II. She was blown away. He was such a good man, very kind and I loved him.”
The strength of her mother’s faith had helped her through tough times over the years, she said, explaining how in 2014, after she was arrested for an alleged assault on an air hostess, her mother had rushed to her aid, shielding her from the media.
“I’m very close to my mum. She has a strong faith that gives her this amazing sense of peace. I admire her; she’s a very strong woman.”