24 May 2022

Why can't we? Cracking open The Cranberries

Why can't we? Cracking open The Cranberries

The Cranberries' first Hot Press shoot on St Stephen's Green in Dublin. This picture is just one of the many in the new book, Why Can’t We? Picture: Cathal Dawson

THE first major book delving into the intimate details of the lives of The Cranberries and lead singer Dolores O’Riordan will be released later this year in limited edition.

Curated by Deputy Editor of Hot Press, Stuart Clark, this fan-led publication details an “incredible series of interviews during her career” and explores “30 years of Limerick’s social history.”

With the first third of the book akin to “a love letter to Limerick”, Stuart revisits iconic conversations shared with the Ballybricken superstar, youngest of nine and born to a farm labourer.

It reveals moments like when she pulled Stuart aside on Leaving Cert night to disclose that she was considering ditching the band to go to UL, to the moment he and several others were treated to a private concert where he no longer saw the nervousness and fear that stood in the way of the band's chance of taking on the world. It had been replaced by a newly-evolved brazen, awe-inspiring attitude.

“The Cranberries gave everyone in Limerick the confidence that if you work hard enough, you can take on the world. Dolores gave everyone that confidence,” says Stuart.

“Limerick always had world-beating bands that never quite made it. Nobody ever expected much. The Cranberries did for Limerick what U2 did for Dublin. All of a sudden there was this charismatic lady who went in front of the biggest rock and roll bands and superstars all over the world and conquered them all,” Stuart enthuses.

Among a number of star contributions included is Kevin Barry’s portrayal of Limerick in the 80s, where he talks about Jim Kenny, Papa Gino’s, as well as Friar Tucks being the best curry chip in town.

The upcoming publication traces the challenges faced by The Cranberries in an early identity crisis that eventually evolved into the sale of 27 million records worldwide.

Stuart explains that when he was introduced to the band in the beginning, they were “a DIY band that did not have a penny to their name.” He recalls seeing constant spelling mistakes on any of their self-created promotional material and even their own band name.

“Dolores was unvarnished, honest and always told you what she thought. In the book we capture this incredible arc of her being at Laurel Hill, wanting to be a rock star. Then when she reaches that level of superstardom, she can’t even go to McDonald's or Tom Collins Bar. For a long time she was trapped inside her hotel room from the fame. The book captures this full evolution in real time,” he adds.

Stuart also credits the beauty and strength of Dolores’ mother Eileen and the support she has received since the 2018 passing of her beloved daughter, reaffirming The Cranberries fanbase as “an extended family” with unabated love.

In his most memorable interview with the “funny and courageous” front woman, Stuart asked Dolores what her greatest achievement in life was?

“She told me straight out: ‘Being a mum.’ After everything Dolores had achieved in life, she was most proud of her three children.”

‘Why Can’t We?’ will be available in special gold limited edition, signed by the band, and in a deluxe platinum limited edition package, with only 1,000 copies.

To purchase a copy of the book due to be released this winter, visit

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