Irish photographs show Susan Boyle at family home in Donegal
Donegal and Mayo closest to singing star's heart
Singing sensation Susan Boyle's roots are firmly in Ireland as can be seen in this photograph.
This picture from 1982 shows 21-year-old Susan on a rare family holiday with her parents Bridget and Patrick in Donegal where Bridget's mother's family come from.
Donegal and Mayo are the counties closest to Boyle's heart. Donegal is her family home, while County Mayo is her spiritual home.
Many of Boyle's friends and neigbors from Scotland first saw her singing at the Catholic shrine of Knock in County Mayo.
Local priest Father Basil Clark said he first saw Boyle singing on their church's annual pligrimage to Knock.
"When I watched the judges' faces it reminded me of what I was like when I first saw Susan singing - absolutely blown away by the quality of the singing and by that fantastic voice," he said.
"Anyone who sees her for the first time behaves the same way. I have never heard her sing badly, though she might lose the words if the stress gets too much," he said.
Boyle, whose mother passed away in 2007, visits Knock every year with the annual Legion of Mary pilgrimage. Boyle is the youngest of nine children of a family of Irish immigrants. Her father Patrick was a worker in a car factory, her mother Bridget a clerk/typist.
Father Clark described her as “a woman of great faith,” whose life revolves around her family and her parish of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Part of Boyle's attraction is that she is such an unlikely candidate for stardom. She told TV viewers she has "never been kissed" and has lived alone with her cat since her mother Bridget died in 2007.
British reports say she developed learning disabilities because of an oxygen shortage at birth. Her social life revolves around her church and her family and she understandably enjoys karaoke in her local pub.
Father Clark said, "When she gets up to sing it can either be wonderful or you can get the unpredictable eccentric behavior, but it is to do with the fact that she has learning difficulties.
"In a sense, there is a beautiful voice trapped in this damaged body," he said. "It is an absolute contrast. There she was on television acting very peculiarly and the audience was expecting peculiar things to happen and then a voice of an angel comes out – and that's Susan."
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