Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

BGT's Declan Donnelly gets mum on the phone to savour Irish music in Belfast's Duke of York pub

Britain's Got Talent host Declan Donnelly in Belfast

Britain's Got Talent host Declan Donnelly was in tune with his roots in Belfast as he enjoyed some traditional Irish music -- even phoning his mother so she could listen in.

One half of Ant and Dec, the presenters flew in to Belfast on Friday to begin filming for the show's live auditions in the Waterfront Hall on Saturday.

As part of the filming, the pair visited the Duke of York pub, where they were treated to pints of Guinness and a session of traditional music, which left them both impressed.

Musician Noel Barr said Dec was so impressed he even phoned his mother during the gig.

"We're not a formal band, we play a lot of sessions together and one of the guys got a call to say they needed 10 musicians to play a set for the show and he asked us down," he said.

"Dec asked me what the name of the song we were playing was -- it was the Mountain Road reel -- and then said: 'My mother would love this'.

"Then he rang her and just said 'listen mum' and held the phone up in the air until we'd finished."

Donnelly's mother Anne and late father Alphonsus were originally from the Desertmartin area of Co Londonderry before moving to England in the 1950s where they raised their family in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The multi-award winning presenter still has family living in Northern Ireland.

It seems that getting all the family together may be the star's next big venture, after he revealed to the musicians that a wedding might be on the cards.

Donnelly (38) has been going out with girlfriend Ali Astall for a number of months but the pair are not publicly engaged.

"He made a comment about lining us up for some traditional Irish music for his big day," Barr added.

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