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Sharon Corr: Growing up as a child of Troubles has left me with no religion

By Linda Stewart

Published 18/01/2016

Sharon Corr who has talked about living in Dundalk during the Troubles
Sharon Corr who has talked about living in Dundalk during the Troubles
Sharon's dad Gerry with wife Jean
Dundalk during the Troubles

Singer Sharon Corr has described how she has no religious beliefs - possibly as a result of growing up in a border town during the Troubles.

But the world-famous musician reveals she had her children christened anyway, because she knew it would make her late father happy.

Meanwhile, her younger sister Andrea revealed how their father Gerry's faith has helped to reinforce her own, in a joint interview with the Sunday Times Magazine.

The pair provide a fascinating insight into family life in the Corrs, growing up in Dundalk in Co Louth.

Many Catholics fled to Dundalk in 1969 after violence broke out in Belfast and the Co Louth town was left reeling after a loyalist car bomb was detonated outside a pub in Christmas 1975, killing two and injuring many others.

Sharon says her mum died in 1999 and she lost her dad last year, yet the family "feel" them every time they walk into the family home.

"He had a strong Catholic faith and in my teens that did sometimes bring us into conflict," she said.

"One Christmas - I must have been about 15 - I refused to go to Mass, and when he came back from church I was ready for him. I thought, 'If he kicks off, I'm kicking off.'

"He looked at me and said, "Now Sha, what are you playing at?' Straight away, I said, 'You're a religious fanatic.'

"Mammy started laughing, then me, then daddy. I just about got away with it.

"Religion did play a big part in our childhood and Andrea still has a strong faith today - which is something I totally respect - but it's not something I've been able to find myself.

"Maybe it had something to do with growing up in a border town during the Troubles. Everyone in Ireland at that time knew someone who'd suffered loss and tragedy."

Sharon said she is not attacking people who have faith.

"If people believe in God and follow what is in their heart, that's a wonderful thing," she said

"But I always found myself asking questions like: 'How many Gods are there? Which is the right God? Any why is there so much conflict caused by religion?'

"Daddy taught me to argue and think for myself, but as I got older I didn't get into too many discussions with him about religion - I knew it would upset him.

"I also had my kids christened because I knew it would make him happy."

Sharon said that despite the Corrs launching their first album in 10 years, 2015 was a difficult year.

"We lost daddy in April and it's still very raw. There have been a lot of tears and no doubt there will be a lot more. Losing both your parents seems so final.

"It might sound like a cliche, but they do live on through our music. They live on through us. It's like a river that will keep on flowing forever."

Andrea said it was a tough first Christmas without their father.

"When you lose someone, it's how you start marking time. The first Christmas, the first birthday," she said. "At least daddy didn't suffer one of those long, horrible illnesses where death comes painfully and slowly. He had a huge heart attack, but we were all able to see him and say our goodbyes.

"I think he knew he was going to die, but he wasn't the least bit fearful. Seeing the strength daddy took from his faith only enhanced my own. I believe in the Almighty... I believe in Heaven and Hell. I think that if we all loved our neighbours as we loved ourselves, we probably wouldn't go too far wrong."

Andrea said her mother never got to go to any of their weddings or meet her grandchildren, but she is thankful that she got to experience some of their joy and success.

"When I said daddy wasn't scared of dying, I think part of that was because he knew he was going to meet mammy," she said.

"It made him happy that they would be together again, singing songs and laughing. Sure, that would have been some party."

The Corrs headlined a free concert in Omagh in the wake of the Omagh bomb and also helped to raise money for cross-border projects later in 2000 by headlining a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Belfast Telegraph

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