Sharon lines up a Corr family Christmas with sister Andrea

Sharon Corr is homeward bound and the award-winning musician will spend Christmas in Ireland with her sister, Andrea.

Sharon recently separated from her husband Gavin Bonnar after 18 years of marriage. She will fly to Dublin from her home in Spain to be with her family over the festive period.

“I am going to be in Dublin for Christmas. I am going to spend it with Andrea,” she said.

“The whole family is going to be together. I am really, really looking forward to that.”

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She added that her late parents, Jean and Gerry, would have loved such a Christmas. “I’m sure it would have made mum and dad very happy to have all of us together for Christmas.”

Sharon, once one quarter of one-time globe-dominating band The Corrs, says that her earliest childhood memories are “always of home in Dundalk” – and “are always of Christmas”.

“I have so many memories of Christmas at home with mum and dad,” she said.

“It was all music. They would have been gigging a lot and working two jobs. They were exhausted but still bring a lot of joy and family spirit to Christmas. My mother always slaved away cooking in the kitchen but she loved it, too.”

On the song Christmas Night, from her 2013 solo album The Same Sun, Sharon sings:

Lost and found again

I’m homeward bound again

Snow is falling on my fingertips

Dreams still linger on my frozen lips

‘Cause I miss you.

The song, as she once revealed, is about missing her mother Jean who died on November 24, 1999, in the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where she was being treated for a chronic lung disease, cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis.

“My thing about Christmas is that the past is in your present at Christmas permanently,” she told me in 2012. “Christmas is really difficult, I find. My memories are of mum stuffing the turkey and kind of being a bit… very tired under the eyes, and knowing that she was working too hard and stuff. Christmas is your past so much. The memories are absolutely huge.

“And now at this stage of my life, having experienced the loss of mum, I can see it in everybody else around me too.

“I can see them missing the people that they love at Christmas. So it almost becomes more about that. Some of the magic of innocence is lost and it is regained in my children. But it is lost in myself. And sometimes I find it hard to get away from the memories.”

Sharon still has childhood memories of Santa arriving in Dundalk.

“I always remember the excitement of waking up at 4am on Christmas Eve and being told to go back to bed. ‘It’s too early, Sharon!’ I particularly remember the year that mum and dad got us bikes.

“That was a complete surprise. We were straight out on the bikes on Christmas morning. We loved those bikes.”

Sharon had a nickname when she was younger because a smile was never far from her face.

“I was called ‘Smiler’ at school,” she said.

“The whole family called me Smiler and, in particular, my uncle Jack. He used to call me ‘Smiler’ all the time, with the little dimple on my cheek. He used to come and squeeze my cheek and call me ‘Smiler’.”

Sharon had a big smile on her face last month when she met one-year-old Alison. In May 2018 the Institut Marques invited Sharon to perform an ’embryo concert’ for hundreds of embryos – Alison among them -growing in the incubators at their Barcelona clinic.

Meeting Alison last month, she said, was “a very, very special moment. Even magical. An honour. I felt a very special connection to hold Alison in my arms”.

Sharon added that the CEO of Institut Marques, Dr Marisa Lopez-Teijon has led research into the effects of music on embryos. She asked Sharon if she would like to meet one of the embryos now grown to a baby.

“I said, ‘Oh, God, I would absolutely love to!’ So, the parents and the baby came to Madrid and we met up. I mean, I love babies. I just love being with babies and it was great to put a little baby on my hip again.

“It was like old times. She is a gorgeous little thing. I was singing to her and dancing with her.

“It was a very joyous occasion because the parents had had such a difficult time with IVF and you know, the history was difficult when they had attempted it in other places and finally they achieved success in the institute in Barcelona.

“They are just extremely grateful and feel that their world is so blessed to have this lovely little marvellous girl in their lives.

“She is just an absolute dote, full of that pure awake baby thing that only a baby can have, just joy and curiosity.

“It was really lovely to meet them and meet her and lovely to see the success of their work in the institute.”

Sharon paused for thought. “In many ways, it brings the fundamentals in life together,” she said, poignantly, not least in light of recent events in her own life.

“The fundamentals for me are music and babies. I have told you that forever. We have always talked about that. I always sang to my babies while they were inside me. I totally believed that it would have a positive effect and they could hear me.”

Did Sharon’s own mother sing to her in the womb?

“I would imagine she did. I don’t remember her saying that she did but she sang all the time.”

What did Sharon sing to her own kids – son Cathal Robert Gerard, born March 31, 2006, and daughter Flori Jean Elizabeth, born July 18, 2007 – when they were in the womb?

“I sang River by Joni Mitchell. It was one of the songs that I absolutely love. I would have sang that and Woodstock, Constant Craving, songs like that. Or even Molly, My Irish Molly. I would serenade them to sleep.

“I always used music to calm them down, if they were a bit agitated, I would play the piano or sing to them and it would always calm them down.”

Let’s just hope Sharon doesn’t have to resort to the piano to calm matters if her little sister Andrea burns the turkey on Christmas Day.

Institut Marques is a leading fertility clinic in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology and assisted reproduction. To find out more, visit https://institutomarques.com/en/

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