Ireland bids farewell to Cranberries singer O’Riordan

Dolores O'Riordan's duet of "Ave Maria" with Luciano Pavarotti rang out at her funeral on Tuesday as Ireland bade farewell to the Cranberries singer following her shock death aged 46.

Around 200 people, largely members of O’Riordan’s family and close friends, gathered at Saint Ailbe’s church in Ballybricken, outside the western city of Limerick.

Her mother, her three children, her six siblings and the other three members of the Cranberries were among the congregation.

The ceremony, broadcast live online by a local radio station to fans around Ireland and the world, began with a recording of her 1995 duet of “Ave Maria” with the Italian opera giant Pavarotti.

In his eulogy, family friend Canon Liam McNamara said O’Riordan “certainly put her lovely local community of Ballybricken on the map — and not just that, but Limerick city, and the entire county of Limerick”.

He recalled first meeting her in the church in 1989, when she was 18.

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

From a Catholic family, O’Riordan said she learnt much about music through her faith. She met pope John Paul II in 2001.

At the end of the service, her coffin was carried out to the sound of the Cranberries’ song “When You’re Gone”, from their 1996 album “To The Faithful Departed”.

– The voice of a generation –

She was buried in a local cemetery in a private ceremony attended by family members only.

The frontwoman and chief songwriter of her multi-million selling Irish rock band was found dead in a London hotel on January 15.

Following her death, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar called O’Riordan “the voice of a generation”, while President Michael D. Higgins said she was “a star that shone bright from the very beginning”.

On Sunday, thousands of people lined up in Limerick to pay their respects at her open coffin.

The Cranberries achieved international success in the 1990s with their debut album “Everyone Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We?”, which included the hit single “Linger”.

The follow-up album gave rise to politically-charged single “Zombie”, an angry response to the deadly Northern Ireland conflict, which hit number one across Europe.

The band sold around 40 million records worldwide.

London coroner Stephen Earl said Friday that he was awaiting test results following a post-mortem, with a full inquest set for April 3, although O’Riordan’s death is not being treated as suspicious.

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