When Cranberries star sang for the Pope at the Vatican

The Cranberries - Wake Up and Smell the Coffee followed by solo careers

Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan had one of the most memorable concerts of her life when she performed for His Holiness Pope Francis.

O’Riordan, who at the time was also working a mentor on the Voice of Ireland TV series, was one of the performers at the annual Vatican Christmas concert in 2013.

It was Pope Francis’ first Christmas in the Vatican after being elected in March when Pope Benedict XVI stepped down.

To perform at the concert was a highly significant achievement for O’Riordan. The singer, who had a string of hit singles and sold millions of albums with the Cranberries, was raised a Catholic.

She had become a regular visitor to the Vatican and was even granted a special audience with the Pope a week before the concert. She had previously met former Pope John Paul II on two occasions in 2001 and 2002.

She said: “I’m Christian in lots of ways, but not conventional.

“A lot of the stuff I learnt, I take with me today – that we should let each other be ourselves.

“I was chuffed to see the inside (of the Vatican) and I met Il Papa, who was lovely, very saintly. I was mad about him.

“I thought he really cared for the poor and he loved to meet the people. I saw him when he came to Limerick, when I was a kid. So it was pretty mind-blowing to take my mum out to meet him.”

Patti Smith, Giovanni Allevi and Alex Britti were among the other musicians who performed at the concert.

O’Riordan followed up the Vatican Christmas concert with an open air show in her home city of Limerick on New Year’s Eve. The event marked the beginning of the city’s year as Irish City of Culture 2014.

The Cranberries split in 2003 and O’Riordian released two successful solo albums. The band reformed in 2009 and returned to performing and recording new material.

Tragically, on 15th January 2018 O’Riordan was found dead in her hotel room in London.

Read More about Dolores O’Riordan and the Cranberries here

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By Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish Music bands are Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys.