UK TV Talent Show sensation Susan Boyle was a surprise visitor to Knock Shrine at the weekend. The Scottish woman, who became a household name after singing her way into the hearts of millions of viewers in the UK and Ireland during the Britain‘s Got Talent series, was on a pilgrimage to one of her favourite Marian Shrines.
Long before she became an international superstar, Susan Boyle, whose parents are from Donegal, was a regular on the organised pilgrimages to Knock from her home parish and diocese in Scotland. She performed in Knock Church on a number of occasions back then with her local choir.
But it was all so different at the weekend. Now instantly recognizable, word spread fast that Susan was back in Knock. And the genial Scottish lady did not disappoint the people. She mingled freely and had a word for everyone that came her way.
“She’s a grand woman out and out,” said Tooreen hurler Peter Squires. “I got her autograph for my mother. Patrick Conboy took some nice photos of us for Facebook!”
For Mairead Egan from Knock, it was a meeting to cherish. “It was brilliant meeting her. You will never see a more down to earth superstar. She said she was delighted to be back in Knock again. Everyone wanted to shake her hand and welcome her to the village.”
Word spread that she was going to sing at the 10.30am Mass in the Basilica on Sunday morning and a sizeable congregation was present for the occasion. Accompanied by John Aldridge on the organ, Susan rendered two well known hymns, Amazing Grace and Ave Maria to sustained applause from the appreciative congregation.
On Saturday night, Susan made an impromptu guest appearance on Daniel O’Donnell’s concert show in the Royal Theatre in Castlebar. She sang ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ on Saturday and dueted with Daniel on a version of ‘Our Lady of Knock’. The audience were so impressed that
Boyle received four standing ovations during her surprise performance.
“It was a dream come true to have Susan perform at the theatre. Susan has been a fan of Daniel’s for years and has attended some of his concerts,” said Pat Jennings, Managing Director of the Royal Theatre.
Hopes are high that she will be able to return to the Castlebar venue for her own concert at a future stage. She is currently in the middle of recording her second album which will be released in November.