'My name is Dolores O'Riordan … I'm going to be a rock star'; School friend remembers 'loveable rogue'

By David Raleigh, in Limerick

Twelve year old Dolores O’Riordan stood up in front of her classmates on her first day in Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick, and loudly announced: “My name is Dolores O’Riordan…I’m going to be a rock star.”

The fresh faced Ballybricken student was a “boisterous, loveable rogue”, according to her school pal Catherina Egan.

The two were “very close”, having being seated in class together, after both had started a day later than everyone else.

“On our first day of school we had to stand up in front of the class and introduce ourselves, and say what we wanted to be when we grew up. We also had to do a party piece,” Egan explained.

Dolores O'Riordan's school pal Catherina Egan. Pictrure: Liam Burke

“Dolores stood up and she roared out ‘My name is Dolores O’Riordan, and I’m going to be a rock star. She stood up on her chair and she belted out ‘Tra la la la la, Triangles’.”

“Even on that first day of school, her voice blew me away,” Egan said

“She wasn’t shy at all. She was gas, a rogue, a messer; she was a great character. We were good pals. Our whole class was close because we all stayed in together for six years.”

“Myself and Dolores started a day late and we ended up sitting together. She was wild, but lovely…a loveable rogue.”

Egan laughs as she remembers one eventful day in class. "Dolores stuck me in the back with a compass. She did it to make me roar out, and get me into trouble. She was great craic.”

O’Riordan’s voice got her out of trouble many times, Egan remembers.

“She was a rogue…always in trouble. But, she got away with murder because she won the Slògadh song contest for the school almost every year," she laughed again.

“She was a soloist in the choir. It was her voice. It was her that won it for us.”

Egan said O’Riordan was always destined to follow a career path to performing.

“She was always writing music and songs in school. One year we got a piano in the main hall, and everyday Dolores would be at it singing songs. We’d all come back from having lunch, and we’d sit around her and listen to her singing.”

Egan said O’Riordan never forgot her school pals even after she left Limerick on a jet set journey to superstardom: "She would always stop you and give you a hug and be delighted to see you. She always stopped and talked to us. She’d nearly shout at you from across the street.”

Egan said she was heartbroken when news of Dolores’ death filtered out.

“We had been very very close in school. It’s so sad. She was so sound.”

She revealed how a group from the class including O’Riordan, continued to call one another by their school nicknames.

“Dolores was ‘Dollar’. That was her star name, what she planned to call herself. We always called her ‘Dollar’. I was ‘Ego’.”

“We were quiet a tight group. A lot of us still are. We’ve all been (texting) each other about it. It’s very sad.”

“We’re all just shocked.”

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