Little Bray on the Irish Sea is a place modelled on classic British seaside resorts. Without a pier, but with a long beach promenade, nice cafés and busloads full of pensioners and families with small children who want to sniff sea air in the cloudy Irish summer. And they probably don't even know whose front door they are strolling along on Strand Road, the main road on the waterfront. Sinéad Marie Bernadette O'Connor resides with her four children in a large, white, two-storey building whose angles are in the Rastafari colours (it couldn't be more striking). A single mother who receives in leather trousers, T-shirt, pink slippers and with a freshly shorn head and striking tattoos on her face (red hearts on both cheeks). Although she cooks coffee and inquires about flight and arrival, she is not really cordial. More suspicious and hesitant. The chaos in the kitchen and living room is visibly unpleasant for her. Which is why she's asking to her first floor retreat. A room that almost leaves you speechless: On the floor a loose mattress, incense sticks glowing everywhere, on the pink walls electric guitars hang next to oversized portraits of Vishnu deities who sometimes practice tantric sex, while the ceiling turns out to be a blue sky with sheep clouds. Sinéad squats cross-legged on the floor, ignites the first of twenty scented cigarettes he feels he has, and declares the verbal exchange of blows open.
eclipsed: We're here with you in Bray. What brought you to this seaside nest?
Sinéad O'Connor: I have always loved this place. As a child I often visited here because my mother had a friend in the area. He lived with three eccentric old ladies in a house at the end of this street. These were his aunts, and they were simply brilliant - fantastic old ladies like from another century. At Christmas they always celebrated big feasts with a huge table full of sweets. Which doesn't matter when you visited her: In this house, you could always get anything you wanted. That's why Bray was always great for me. I have very good memories of it.
eclipsed: Unlike Dublin?
O'Connor: Yeah, Dublin's bad. The people there are greedy, mean and underhanded, not as open and honest as here. I lived in London for a long time before I had to go back to Ireland because of my daughter. Her father is Irish, and I wanted her to grow up near him. For them as for my other children - two of whom are even younger - this is perfect. It's very quiet and boring in a positive way. There's nothing dangerous, and there are no junkies on the way. My daughter, for example, has never drunk or smoked before. And she's only had two friends so far, that's all. So it's a very safe place. That's one of the reasons I wanted out of London. When children there reach teenage age, it is almost impossible to keep them away from drugs. So this is like heaven on earth. Even if I don't really like living in Ireland and find the idea frightening alone. It's a very bad place, it always has been. The irony is, my kids are still very safe here.