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'We always knew Mary would be X Factor success'

THE 'Irish SuBo' has been hailed as the Shirley Bassey of Ballyfermot.

Mary Byrne (51), who is set to be an international sensation like her Scottish counterpart, has long been familiar with the stage, albeit a much smaller one.

The Tesco employee has been praised by neighbours and friends for her unique singing abilities -- and her talents were recognised on the more humble, local stages of Tim Young's pub on Le Fanu Road, and also Downey's pub around the corner.

Maurice Mitton, owner of both pubs, told the Herald how Mary had sung karaoke in his pubs for years, revealing that she has a surprisingly soulful voice.

"She's an amazing talent, with a great voice, and always drew a good crowd," said Maurice.

"Everyone always had fun when Mary was singing, she has a Shirley Bassey voice and liked doing country numbers as well.

"We'll all be tuned in tomorrow night and we'll be wishing her the best and giving her all the support we can," he added.

Downey's pub in Ballyfermot was also the launch pad for other successful singing careers including Mary Black, The Furey Brothers and Christy Moore.


The mother of one, to daughter Debbie, is being tipped to become the next big thing in the music industry -- with show insiders already hinting that she may take the title of winner home this year.

A source close to the family revealed to the Herald: "We're all very proud of her. It's such a great thing, she's always wanted to do the show.

"She's very busy at the moment and is filming in England with them now."

And our answer to Susan Boyle has "always wanted" to audition for the show -- but only got the courage this year.

Although she has been gigging in various different venues throughout the capital for the past number of years, she only got the courage to audition for the X Factor when her brother offered his support at the Dublin auditions earlier this year.

And the big-hearted singer sang once a month in Finglas pub The Shamrock Lodge -- where she and her brother Tommy performed under the name The Tommy Lee Experience to raise funds for various charities.

But Mary has been gagged from speaking about the show until it airs.

Judge Louis Walsh has revealed how the singer really bowled everyone over at her audition, even bringing Cheryl Cole to tears. "She was just great. She came in and took everyone's breath away," he said.