This Is What Dolores O'Riordan Preferred Over The Rock-Star Lifestyle

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You might think that a famous musician like Dolores O'Riordan — the lead singer of The Cranberries — would have relished the rockstar lifestyle. Thanks to her powerful singing voice, O'Riordan and The Cranberries were catapulted into fame when O'Riordan herself was still at the tender age of 21 (and she had been playing with the band since she was 19). O'Riordan defied music industry norms (much to some critics' complaints) by singing in her broad Irish accent — but it worked for her. Her voice was so distinctive that anyone could instantly recognize her after only a few notes.

The rockstar life was certainly thrilling at first, as noted by The Telegraph – fans, parties, and all the free alcohol she could have wanted. That amount of excitement took a massive toll after a while, driving O'Riordan to exhaustion. What few fans probably realize is that O'Riordan showed a preference for a slower pace, a more serene rural lifestyle, similar to the one she grew up with. 

Dolores O'Riordan Preferred a Rural Life

 O'Riordan admitted in past interviews that she really preferred a quiet, comfortable country life over the rock-star lifestyle. She grew up in County Limerick, Ireland, where she was the youngest of nine children (two died in infancy). Her father was a farm laborer until a motorcycle accident left him with brain damage. O'Riordan's mother had to be family's primary supporter — both financially and at home. O'Riordan's big family lived in a small cottage with limited space — she and siblings were crowded into one bedroom — but in interviews, O'Riordan still had fond memories of her childhood and family life. In an interview with The Telegraph, she describes life her family life as "the most cosy loving childhood, all huddled up together."

O'Riordan admitted what a heavy toll fame took on her. In 1996, she and The Cranberries were on their second tour in eight months, and O'Riordan's mental and physical health were suffering. The stress of the demanding tour was becoming intense, O'Riordan explained in her interview: "Sometimes I'd go, 'Is there any way out of here? Is there any way I can just wake up and be a regular girl?'"

While she forced herself to perform as she worried about losing money and disappointing fans, it was clear that O'Riordan was not okay. The tour had to be canceled while O'Riordan and her husband retreated to the rural peace of the Caribbean, where she could recover.

Dolores O'Riordan Found Some Peace in Canada

In the Telegraph interview, O'Riordan admitted that she greatly preferred family life over an active social scene among the elite. "I don't want to be part of the Hollywood scene, or the New York scene — I just want to be part of my family scene," she said. "I don't want to get into a clique of people that suddenly I feel I have to have an identity with. I have a real identity with a beautiful family I really know and really love."

O'Riordan found some semblance of the rural serenity she was looking for in Southern Ontario, Canada. O'Riordan was married to her manager, Don Burton, a Canadian, and they would divide their time between Ireland and Ontario. According to HuffPost, the two bought a house on Big Bald Lake in Peterborough, northwest of Toronto. She marveled at the sheer size of Canada, compared to Ireland: "You can really get lost here, and I like that.

"The seasons are so dramatic here — from the snow in the winter to the beauty of the autumn, the colours of the leaves falling — so I have a piano outside my window and sometimes I start off there with ideas, just using nature as a backdrop." The open air and quiet of her second home gave O'Riordan the time and place to think clearly and be inspired to create. She used the beautiful lake for her 2009 solo album's cover art.

Dolores O'riordan's Inner Peace Didn't Last

Unfortunately, O'Riordan's sense of peace didn't last. She and her husband divorced in 2014 after 20 years of marriage, and O'Riordan decided to move back to Ireland after the split. She had always been transparent about her struggles with mental health: depression, mood swings, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts, though Inc. reports she wouldn't be officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder until 2017, after she was committed to psychiatric care due to a rage incident at Shannon Airport in which she assaulted a police officer, reported the Irish Times. After treatment, O'Riordan appeared to be doing much better and was getting back into working on her music.

But in 2018, as described by The Guardian, O'Riordan was found accidentally drowned in a bathtub at the Park Lane Hilton in London. The autopsy revealed that she had high levels of alcohol in her bloodstream. There were no signs of drugs, foul play, or an attempt take her life — she had spoken to her mother and bandmates earlier that night, all of whom reported that O'Riordan had been in good spirits.

After their mother's death, it was reported by Extra that O'Riordan's three children were moving away from the Peterborough lake house in Ontario — the place where their mother found some sense of tranquility. The memories of their mother were too palpable to bear.