25 Jan 2022

Dolores O'Riordan: Tipperary remembers the day a rock icon came to town

Dolores O'Riordan: Tipperary remembers the day a rock icon came to town

The late Cranberries front woman Dolores O'Riordan on her wedding day in Holycross Abbey in July 1994

Below we recall the day in July 1994 when Cranberries lead singer Dolores O'Riordan married Canadian rock tour promoter Don Burton at Holycross Abbey.

Headlined 'Glitzy Showpiece as Pop Star Weds' former Tipperary Star reporter Eugene Hogan filed the following story in our issue of 23 July, 1994.

"Bono and Co. may not have been able to attend but it was still the eyeful everyone anticipated.

For the wedding of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan from Ballybricken, Limerick (22) to Canadian rock tour promoter Don Burton (32) at Holycross Abbey on Monday was something out of the ordinary.

The twelfth century abbey has been the location for many a prestigious ceremony in the past but certainly none as glitzy as this.

It was the proverbial showpiece, and one which attracted members of virtually every national media publication to the picturesque Suirside village.

Hundreds of locals crowded around the abbey well in advance of the 1.30p.m. starting time and while Bono, Simon Le Bon and other members of the rock world glitterati invited to the bash were unable to attend, there was still plenty for onlookers to gasp at.

It was a mixture of the old world and the new, the bizarre and the conventional; a wedding of varying styles and colours in the splendid summer sunshine.

The bridegroom and his best man Gordy Pitts arrived just on time and on two great brown mares with Dolores’ page-boy, nephew Gerard O’Riordan.

Both Burton and his Canadian best friend Pitts were dressed in long leather tails, with snakeskin detail on the lapels, leather pants and knee length black biker boots.

The bride of course kept her husband to be and the assembly of nearly 300 waiting for nearly twenty minutes before she finally arrived.

And when she did appear it was certainly every bit as dazzling and dramatic an entrance as expected.

Dolores was preceded by her bridesmaid and old school pal Breffni McCarthy, who was dressed in a purple chiffon dress and wore black Doc Marten boots, and arrived on no less than a white “high nellie” bicycle.

Dolores herself arrived on a horse-drawn cart draped in ivory and gold satin and decorated with rambling roses gypsophila and heather and was met at the entrance by her father Terence and mother Eileen.

Her dress, which was designed in New York, was ornate and alternative, if not somewhat shocking for the bedazzled onlookers. She wore an ivory lace and chiffon see-through all-in-one piece. Beneath this filament was a pair of lace hipster hugger trousers and bra-top which fastened with ribbons at the back.

The bride also wore knee high beige boots and those with good eyesight were amazed, too, as the jewel in her navel.

On her head she wore a small crown, encrusted with small beads and complemented with an arm bracelet of the same design. Her veil was all of six foot in length, causing her some difficulty as she dismounted the cart and later, after the ceremony, when she climbed on again.

The ceremony, in which Dolores sang solo, lasted just under an hour and the entourage then returned for their celebrations to Aherlow House.

The attendance was mostly made up of relatives and friends of the bride, while a small gathering of family and friends of the groom also made the journey from Canada.

Contrary to much media hype, however, there was a dearth of stars from the music world. Members of Duran Duran, for whom the groom managed a Canadian tour, and U2 were, it was confirmed, invited but could not attend for several reasons.

Speaking to the “Tipperary Star” after the ceremony, mother of the bride, Mrs Eileen O’Riordan, said: “It was one of the proudest moments of my life.”

She described the ceremony as delightful and thought her daughter looked “absolutely stunning.”

But why Holycross for the wedding? According to Mrs O’Riordan, who is a devoutly religious woman, the family lived in the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and Holycross was a regular place of pilgrimage for Dolores when she was growing up.

“She has always loved the church here and it was her wish from the moment she got engaged to be married here. We are also very good friends with the Archbishop and we are very sorry he couldn’t make it here today,” she added.

Dolores and her husband, however, won’t have time for a honeymoon as she must return to the area in ten days time to perform at Feile ‘94."

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