Susan Boyle

BLOG | THE FAT LADY SINGS | NIALL O'DOWD: CLICK HERE

NEWS | WITH VIDEO | SUSAN'S DREAM COMES TRUE: CLICK HERE

Irish fans north and south of the border gave standing ovations to Susan Boyle today after her triumphant return to her parents' homeland.

Boyle wowed audiences in Dublin and Belfast with her showstopping rendition of "Memories," and "I Dreamed a Dream."

More than 15,000 fans packed into the 02 arena in Dublin on Tuesday night to see her while another 20,000 squeezed into the Odyssey center in Belfast last night.

  • VIDEO: EMOTIONAL HOMECOMING: Click here to see raw video of Susan Boyle singing in Belfast last night at the Odyssey Arena

Just last weekend it had been touch-and-go as to whether Boyle - or SuBo as her fans call her - would appear.

In Dublin, friends Moira Hegarty, 47, and Catherine Hartnett, 46, said they were thrilled with the concert.

The pair, who had lit candles for Boyle in their local church at the weekend, managed to get up close to the stage.

"She's so much better in real life than she is on screen," said Hartnett. "She's such a powerful singer and there's so much emotion there, not like those plastic singers you get now."

Susan dedicated her shows in Dublin and Belfast to her late mother Bridget, who came from Donegal.

Her mother's absence touched the hearts of many of the fans attending both concerts.

"It's such a tragedy that her mother isn't here to see her now," said Louise Flood from Ballyshannon in County Donegal, who attended the Belfast show.

"It's so sad that they didn't live to see their daughter achieve this huge success story."

Another fan, Elaine McMahon, from Gweedore, said her heart was "just broken" for Boyle.

"It must be so tough on her to be up there on stage without the people who kept encouraging her to follow her dream."

"I hope her mother can see her now from heaven."

Boyle's parents, Patrick and Bridget, emigrated from County Donegal in the 1930s, settling in Blackburn, West Lothian, in Scotland where Susan was born on April 1, 1961.

Her father, Patrick, was a miner and served in World War II, while her mother Bridget worked as a typist.

Bridget, who died in 2007, had urged Boyle to try out for the TV shows.

But Boyle was nervous of large crowds and afraid that she would be laughed at.

Her shyness stems from her school days where she was bullied by classmates who unkindly called her "Susie Simple."

Boyle was the youngest of a huge family; four brothers and six sisters, and was diagnosed as having learning difficulties when she was a child.

She left school with little academic qualifications and spent her adult life in the family home with her mother after her father passed away in the 1990s.

It was her mother's death that inspired her to apply for Britain's Got Talent as she wanted to pay tribute to the one person who had kept on believing her.

In Belfast last night, as she left the stage to a standing ovation, she said she was "delighted" to be in Ireland and dedicated both her Irish shows to Bridget.