Philomena Begley & her Ramblin' Men
Philomena Begley, the Queen of Country Music. Philomena was born in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone, where she grew up with a love for Country Music, at the tender age of 15 years she stepped on her first stage 'for a dare' she says, in Ardboe on the shores of Lough Neagh.
By 1977 she was undertaking a major tour of the United States and in 1978 was invited to sing at the Grand Ole Opry. Since then she has returned annually to Nashville, been a guest of honour at the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York and has sung at both the Grand Old Opry and Carnegie Hall.
Now 40 years later Philomena Belgey is phenomenon drawing in the crowds for an audience with the 'Queen of Country Music'. She is married to Tom Quinn, and has three children, Mary, Aiden and Carol where they still reside in the hometown village
The country singer will soon leave behind the household chores to once again
take to the stage and with her appealing natural voice she is sure to pull the crowds.
BLANKET ON THE GROUND - Philomena Begley 1975
They were immediately taken with the song and her manager at the time rang a friend in The States and tracked down the song. A couple of days later Philomena recorded the song and it became a huge overnight success.
It was 5 weeks in the charts and reached number 5. The original singer of the song Billie Jo Spears also released the song in England and in Ireland at the same time, however it was Philomena's version that received the highest sales.
It was a long way from when Philomena first sang on stage as a dare in her local céili hall in Co Tyrone.
Her proudest moment was performing in the Grand Olde Opry in Nashville - she received a standing ovation and an encore for her performance of Blanket On the Ground.
Philomena Begley's career has seen her perform on the world stages of the Grand Olde Opry, Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall in London.
She also recorded duet's with Ray Lynam
Noted songwriter Shane McGowan pays tribute to Ray Lynam and
in the Pogues song, "A Pair of Brown Eyes" ("...when Ray and Philomena sang of my elusive dream..."
From the files of John Bairds
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