MUSIC, faith and friendship, the three pillars in the life of Terry O’Riordan, were quietly celebrated at his funeral mass this week which was attended by several hundred mourners – including his rock star daughter, Dolores.
The global superstar, who is the lead singer with The Cranberries, returned to the rural church where she played the organ and sung as a child to say a final farewell to her devout father who, the congregation heard, closed his eyes, and in turn closed his “splendid book of life”, last Friday evening at the time of the Angelus bells.
The 74-year-old from Holy Cross, near Lough Gur, had bravely battled cancer for the past six years. He died at his home in Friarstown, Grange surrounded by his family and close friend, Canon Liam McNamara.
“He loved a good laugh and a good time. He enjoyed funny stories and funny incidences and always had his mind and his heart full of joy,” said Canon McNamara, PP, Ballybricken and Bohermore who led the funeral mass which was attended by Dolores’ fellow band members Fergal Lawler and the Hogan brothers, Mike and Noel. “It was a very noble quality he had - to be filled with joy,” added Canon McNamara.
That joy was clearly evident from the carefully chosen gifts which were brought to the altar of Ballybricken parish church by family members on Monday morning.
There was a Laurel and Hardy DVD symbolising his fondness for the comedy duo and his love of laughter, an accordion which mourners heard he would use to entertain pilgrims on their journey home from Knock, a garden feature symbolising his deep love of nature, a deck of cards marking his fondness for the game of 45, a pioneer pin symbolised his abstinence from alcohol all his life and a copy of the Story of Knock illustrating his “great devotion to Our Lady”.
Among those to pay their respects at the church on Sunday night was Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dermot Clifford.
“With Terry there was a time for everything,” continued Canon McNamara, “there was a time for laughter, a time for enjoyment and recreation, there was a time for playing the accordion and there was also a time for the most important values and aspects of life.
“He made numerous friends. There is an old saying that you should hold onto old friends but make new ones too and that is exactly what he had been doing all his life,” added Canon McNamara who said Terry was very appreciative of his wife Eileen and family who were with him in his final hours.
Terry O’Riordan is survived by his wife Eileen, sons Terence, Brendan, Donal, Joseph and PJ, daughters Angela and Dolores, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, extended family and friends.
*A full version of this story appeared in the Limerick Leader weekend edition, dated December 3, 2011.