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Monday 21 May 2018

Dolores was 'a star that shone very bright' - President Higgins

Dolores's mother Eileen entering St Ailbe's Church last night
Dolores's mother Eileen entering St Ailbe's Church last night
Floral tributes fill the hearse as the coffin of Dolores O'Riordan is taken into St Ailbe's Church, Ballybricken

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes to Dolores O'Riordan at the singer's removal service last night.

Fans, neighbours, parents who knew her from the school gates, child minders, fleeting acquaintances and lifelong friends all gathered to say goodbye to the 46-year-old mother-of-three.

They spoke of her talent, her kindness, her humour, generosity of spirit and, of course, her voice.

Mr Higgins had travelled to Limerick early in the day for a private meeting with O'Riordan's mother Eileen and her family, and to sign one of four books of condolence.

"It's so profoundly sad that someone so young is taken from us," the President said afterwards.

Generous

"But it's equally important also to pay tribute to her work and music.

"It is 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 generous, and I hope her family will get all the support it needs. Limerick is very, very proud of her.

"As her teachers have been saying, she was a star that shone very bright from the beginning, and I wish her peace. Our sympathies go out to her mother Eileen and her family."

The much-loved singer was laid out in an open coffin in Ballyneety. Rosary beads were carefully wrapped around her hands, and beside her stood several photographs - one of her meeting with the late Pope John Paul II and others of her on stage, performing with her bandmates.

The three remaining members of The Cranberries - Mike and Noel Hogan and Fergal Lawler - joined O'Riordan's five brothers and sister at the funeral home.

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

Kay Duffy, O'Riordan's former housekeeper, was among those who arrived at the funeral home ahead of the removal.

She said O'Riordan's kindness and compassion was boundless.

"She couldn't have treated me better than she did… It's very sad. I am so shocked, I can't believe it. Whenever she came home she would give me a 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 said.

Cathy Crawford, who minded O'Riordan's son, Taylor, at her preschool in Donoughmore, 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's oldest son, Taylor, in my preschool 16 years ago. Dolores was lovely. She used to come down to the house and wait in the kitchen while Taylor was in school."

Vigil

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

A large crowd later attended a candlelit vigil in Arthur's Quay Park, Limerick, where local musicians played their favourite Cranberries songs in memory of the star.

Last Sunday, thousands mourned the Limerick star during a four-hour public repose.

Today, hundreds of fans, as well as leading figures in the Irish music industry, are expected to venture to her home town of Ballybricken to attend the singer's Funeral Mass in St Ailbe's Church. Family friend Canon Liam McNamara will be chief celebrant, and O'Riordan will be laid to rest alongside her late father Terry in Caherelly Cemetery following the service.

On Sunday, thousands lined the wet streets of Limerick to bid farewell to the star.

A single floral tribute was displayed beside the singer, reading simply: "The song has ended but the memories linger on."

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