- 06 Sep 23
On this day in 1971, Dolores O'Riordan was born in Co. Limerick. To mark what would've been her 52nd birthday, we're revisiting the Irish Women In Harmony members' powerful reflections on Dolores' music and legacy – originally published in Hot Press in 2020.
"As a fellow Limerick woman. Dolores has always been a part of my life. We grew up in the same city, and went to the same school.
"Through her presence as a musician on a global level, she showed me that there was a place on the stage for me, as a woman in music who didn't necessarily want to fit the mould.
"As an Irish musician, she showed the world what we're capable of – maybe more importantly, she showed us back home in Limerick what we're capable of."
"Her voice, that uniqueness...I've always felt that there's a uniqueness to an Irish voice. I think that about Sinéad O'Connor, Lisa Hannigan, Pillow Queens, too. Dolores inspired in me the idea that I could sound like myself. Watching her break out of just our country and being global makes you dream bigger."
"Personally, Dolores has been a hero and a style icon of mine since I was a kid. She brought politics into my life through the female voice, which ultimately has had a huge part to play in the way I write music."
"Dolores made our dreams of becoming musicians attainable in our minds, because we weren’t just hearing a woman’s voice in rock music, but that voice that had a gorgeous Limerick accent. The fact that 'Zombie' was the first YouTube video by an Irish artist to reach a billion plays proves that female musicians are not just here to tick a box."
“Growing up hearing an Irish woman’s voice on the radio was something we took for granted then. But it definitely gave us confidence in making music from a young age. My big sister was obsessed with The Cranberries and I remember being transfixed in the back of the car the first time I heard ‘Ode to My Family.’"
"Dolores has always been an inspiration to me, particularly as an Irish artist. By listening to her music, she had a massive influence on my singing style and gave me the confidence to sing in my own accent – which is something I have always held onto. Her style of music and unique voice will always be remembered."
"I will always be in awe of Dolores’s voice. The power of it, the rare moments of softness, and the way she could throw it seemed other-worldly.
“Seeing any woman doing what I wanted to do as a child was inspiring – the very thought that it might be possible might have been enough, but seeing someone with her voice and words was something else. Dolores, alongside Sinéad O’Connor and later on Lisa Hannigan, became a reason to try and make a go of it, something to strive for.”
"Dolores O'Riordan’s legacy means a lot to me as an Irish musician. We are such a small country with a tiny population but people all around the world are able to sing the words to songs written by The Cranberries. I feel a sort of connection to Dolores, as I had the honour of singing the song 'Linger' as Gaeilge for RTÉ 2fm’s CEOL 2018. Singing on this track deepened my respect for Dolores even more and it is always an honour to sing a song she once sang."
"It’s hard to come out with something new, but Dolores certainly did that. Two things always struck me about her. How she was proud of being Irish and a woman in the music world. I loved her for that alone, and her strength of conviction.
"It’s a credit to how great Dolores was as a singer-songwriter, that you hear her songs being played continuously on the airwaves after she has sadly left this world. She certainly paved the way for other Irish artists, particularly women."
"Dolores O'Riordan let her artistry do the talking. Today she is remembered for her voice and her lyricism. She wrote from the heart, and that’s why many of her songs will stand the test of time. As women in the music industry, a lot can be thrown at you. But she kept fighting to create an amazing legacy. She never lost sight of her art and that’s something I admire about her."
"Dolores was one in a billion. She was a true individual, and not afraid to just totally be herself. As a woman in music sometimes you might feel like you need to fit into a particular box or be a certain way, but Dolores really didn’t do that at all.
"She was strong and gentle at the same time, she was just herself and that’s the legacy she leaves us with. It’s ok to just be you and be an individual and make no apologies for it."
"Dolores is a truly iconic figure in Irish music history, and has become an inspiration for so many young women in Ireland to pursue a career in music. Personally, I admire her boldness and determination to be so unique in a time in Ireland where it would not be the norm for a woman to do so. She was such a strong passionate woman that had something to say with her music."
"She paved the way for female Irish musicians to come after. Dolores was a role model to me growing up in Ireland, her voice and presence was so unique and watching her succeed as an Irish musician was a big inspiration for me starting out in the music industry."
“Growing up in Ireland, I didn’t have many female artists to look to bar a handful.
“Dolores was one of those. I remember getting my first computer and discovering YouTube, where I binged watched any type of music video I could find. I was familiar with the Cranberries’ music as my Dad would play them for me often, but I particularly recall watching the 'Zombie' music video and realising how powerful Dolores’ energy was.
“My 8-year-old self thought ‘if she’s from Limerick and I’m from Galway, I could do that too!’ Seeing that representation played a pivotal role in the artist I’ve become today.”
Irish Women In Harmony – a collective of Irish female artists – came together to release a cover of The Cranberries' 'Dreams' in 2020, in support of Safe Ireland.
Revisit The Cranberries' version below:
Read our live review of Irish Women In Harmony at Electric Picnic 2023 here.