Irish Country Music Legend Philomena Begley sings "My Life, My Music, My Memories" on The Late Late Show, RTÉ One.
Philomena Begley was born and grew up in Pomeroy, County Tyrone, and worked in a hat factory in Cookstown before her break into music.
Her first venture as a singer was with the popular Old Cross Céilí Band, with whom she sang as a dare, but stayed with the group. The group soon became known as the Old Cross Bandshow and released three records in Ireland in 1968 and 1969, but none made an impression in the charts. In September, 1970, the band changed its name to The Country Flavour. Begley's first record following this became her first chart hit when "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" reached number seven in the Irish chart. In 1974 she formed the Ramblin' Men, while the Country Flavour continued to tour with several other lead singers (including Eileen King and Dan O'Hara) during the 1970s.
Begley regularly toured with Ray Lynam from 1975 and they recorded many duets together, probably their most popular being "My Elusive Dreams", which went on to be mentioned in The Pogues' song, "A Pair of Brown Eyes".
In 1975, Begley had a hit with her version of Billie Jo Spears' hit song "Blanket on the Ground" which took her to number five in the Irish charts. Spears also released the song in the United Kingdom and in Ireland at the same time, but in Ireland. Begley's version received the highest sales, as Spears' version only went to number 11.By 1977, she was undertaking a major tour of the United States, and in 1978, she was invited to sing at the Grand Ole Opry by Porter Wagoner. Since then, she has returned annually to Nashville, been a guest of honour at the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City, and has sung at both the Grand Ole Opry and Carnegie Hall.
One of Begley's biggest fans is Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell, and he once said, "When Philomena sings a song you believe her…..you feel that she’s experienced every emotion she expresses."
Her son Aiden Quinn has also established a singing career for himself. Her niece, Andrea Begley, won the BBC TV Series The Voice in June 2013.