MaBy hits high notes in front of full house
EVERY Saturday night they sat in their living room watching her on 'X Factor'. But Dubliners Paul and Bernie Martin never once dreamed their Ballyfermot neighbour Mary Byrne would one day sing to them in the same front room.
However, that is exactly what happened last night, when the 51-year-old arrived to their home at Claddagh Road.
It came about after RTE's 'Mooney Show' invited listeners to tell the programme why they wanted the singing sensation to perform at a private party in their own home.
The replies came thick and fast but in the end a group of 25 women from the Star Family Support Centre in Ballyfermot were declared the winners.
Among the group is Bernie Martin, who found her front room transformed into a concert venue as Byrne performed in front of photographers, TV cameras and over 150 local fans.
"Welcome to my home. It's a pleasure to have you here," Bernie told her.
It was literally standing room only in the small three-bedroom house while outside the window more than 100 others listened as the former checkout operator belted out the hits, starting with 'It's a Man's World'.
Describing the house gig as her "warm-up" for playing to 45,000 fans in the Aviva Stadium supporting Neil Diamond on June 25, Byrne said it was her "best yet".
"I always said Ballyfermot had the best community spirit and this proves it. I've been around people's houses before singing but never quite had this sort of reaction," she said.
The local hero was also invited out on a date by Charlie Martin, brother of householder Paul, who received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth in 2006 for work on the Shankill-Shankill Project which has brought together over 500 young people from the interfaced areas of North Belfast and Dublin.
"It was very nice being asked out but I told Charlie I'm happy being on my own, and it took me a long time to get to this point," added Byrne.