Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland: People with a unique warmth

Dana and husband Damien on their wedding day

Our Seven Wonders series continues with Eurovision winner and former MEP Dana

From my earliest recollections of performing in feis around the country, I remember people being very supportive and interested in how I was getting on. There was a great warmth from them.

That, of course, was really shown when I came back to Derry after winning Eurovision and people came out to welcome me.

I went back to Derry to get married on October 5, 1978 and I could not believe the number of people who were there to support us on our big day.

That, I think, is the hallmark of people here, they are very down to earth and open hearted. When my mother Sheila Brown was dying, local people, including her carers, showed her and her family tremendous kindness.

Even when we would go down to the local chemist’s shop for medication, people would ask after her and offer their sympathy. Her carers were like friends rather than health workers just doing a job.

I will never forget the kindness of people at what was a very stressful time for our entire family. But the warmth and kindness of people is not unique just to Derry.

I found the same attitudes when I moved to Co Down after my marriage to Damien. It is the people who make Northern Ireland unique.

Rosemary Scallon, best known as Derry-born singer Dana, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970. She later turned to politics, becoming an MEP for the Connacht Ulster constituency from 1999-2004 and running unsuccessfully for office of Irish President in 1997

How you can shape the Seven Wonders

So what do you, the reader, think makes Northern Ireland special?

As our series runs every day over the next month we invite readers to vote on which landmark or aspect of life here as detailed by our celebrity contributors that they most agree with.

At the conclusion of the series this will enable us to draw up a list of the Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland — the things that really make Northern Ireland great.

Your choices can be sent to Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB or alternatively send an email to featureseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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