Visiting Dolores


As it was a bank holiday weekend in Ireland I headed west on the Friday after work My train ticket was booked for a 4pm departure. As I was logging off from work at 2.45pm my boss – in typical style – rang me to perform an urgent task. Hissing venom internally I did said task.

At 3.35 (20 minutes later than planned) I arrived at the tram stop near my house that was heading towards Heuston Station. A 10 minute wait for a Daniel Day (as the Luas tram is nicknamed in Dublinese)  would mean I’d miss my locomotive. I raised my hand and yelled ‘TAXI’.

The outrageously beautiful Polish gentleman driving the motor noticed my anxiety as we were held by every single red traffic light along the quays.

‘I will get you there’ he reassured me.

‘Take me now or lose me forever’ I thought to myself.

Amazingly I reached my train after sprinting through the station as the whistle was blowing for the doors to shut, and was collected at the train station in Limerick. An exciting evening impersonating my work colleagues followed.

I arrived at my mother’s house on Saturday to the exciting news that my fifteen month old nephew was calling over for a visit with his mother – my sister. I introduced him to the joys of being carried about the house in an empty laundry basket. He found the whole experience quite exhilarating, and vocally expressed his displeasure when I put said laundry basket down. My reasoned explanation that my arms were hurting, was dismissed as irrelevant. Luckily my sister distracted him with a rusk, at which point I hid the basket.

On Sunday I had plans for an excursion. I had two choices. Head south to Cork city for the Pride parade, or head further west to the seaside village of Ballybunion in county Kerry, where we used to go as children. The pouring rain as I rose that morning, put paid to my ambitions. I wasn’t venturing out into that deluge.

After lunch my mother made a suggestion.

‘Do you want to go see Dolores O’Riordan’s grave?’

As longterm readers of this blog will be aware, I am very fond of graveyards, and regard them as places worth visiting. I have been to Glasnevin Cemetery, where I saw the museum and taken the guided tour; the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, where I remember on the Oscar Wilde tomb there was a sticker which read ‘Les bis existent, la biphobie aussi’; the Jewish cemetery in Limerick which is home to about ten graves; and many more.

I might have inherited this morbid interest from my mother, who has bookmarked the website – the listings website for deaths in Ireland – on her computer.

Dolores O’Riordan – lead singer of the Cranberries and Limerick’s most famous daughter – died in January last year, and is buried in Caherelly Graveyard in county Limerick.

We drove through rural county Limerick to find the location. After about a thirty minute drive we found the place at the end of a narrow country lane. Buried in a small graveyard, her headstone was immediately obvious. Despite the remote location, fans from all over the world had visited to pay their respects – from France; Russia; Poland; Italy; USA and more. Flowers, teddy bears, coins and pictures adorned the space where she is buried alongside her father.

I know that a graveyard is a public place, open to anyone, but it felt slightly intrusive. I never knew Dolores outside her music. At least my mother had met her and interacted with her – about a decade ago when she was still living in Limerick, Dolores has visited the Limerick branch of B&Q in the City East business park looking for coal for her barbecue. My mother worked in the shop at the time. As it was winter the coal was not on the shelf but in the warehouse, so my mother had to fetch it for the lead singer of the Cranberries, who apparently was a very pleasant customer.

We decided to leave. As we were departing another car was pulling into the carpark. There are only about ten graves in the cemetery in its entirety. It would appear that people want to come pay their respects to Dolores in her resting place in rural county Limerick.

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