The Limerick born chart topper revealed to the Sunday Independent that she had been abused from the age of eight to 12.
The mother of three told the paper that the abuse took place for four years and that her abuser was in a position of trust in her home county of Limerick.
Now 42, she said that it took years of counseling for her to recover.
She said: “It is something that I carried forever. There is a great sense of a great burden off my shoulders. I feel it is going to help me by opening up and just confessing to all of those people who bought my albums and that love me.”f
O’Riordan’s decision to go public has been praised by Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, the CEO of the Rape Crisis Centre.
She told the Irish Independent that O’Riordan’s admission would inspire countless victims to seek help around the country.
O’Malley-Dunlop said: “I think she’s shown tremendous courage and great generosity in speaking out, because when people like her talk about the terrible trauma inflicted upon them, it encourages others to come forward.
“It is one of the most horrific crimes in our society and all the things Dolores said - like feeling ashamed, the aftermath of the trauma on her life, the lack of self-worth, the anorexia and the suicidal thoughts - they are all common feelings.
“They are feelings that people have who have not been able to talk about the awful experiences they endured and it is never, ever the victim’s fault, particularly a child victim who is groomed.”
O’Riordan told the paper that her husband Don Burton and their children - son Taylor, and daughters Mollie and Dakota - had helped her come to terms with her past.
She added: “I am just trying to live for my kids. It is all about my kids now. I love them endlessly.
“The kids were actually completely elemental in my healing process.”