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Oh la la! De banks are being sung on the banks of the Seine in lockdown Paris

April 29th, 2020 5:45 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The silhouette of Sinead Mulhern at her window in Paris, singing De Banks for her neighbours.

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IT’S certainly rare to have a Dublin opera singer singing one of Cork’s best-loved anthems in a Parisian suburb in the middle of a lockdown.

But then again with the ongoing worldwide Covid-19 crisis, anything is possible.

This special moment happened to Coachford woman Emma Mooney last month when her friend Sinead Mulhern serenaded her with a fantastic rendition of  The Banks of My Own Lovely Lee from her balcony.

Speaking to The Southern Star, Emma – who lives in Auteil, in the 16th arrondissement in Paris, with her husband Conor and their three children – said it was amazing to hear the  song, which is her mum’s favourite, sung in Paris of all places.

‘Sinead is originally from Dublin and is a friend of ours who lives in the building beside us and is an opera singer. When we were on lockdown for St Patrick’s Day I asked her if she could sing a song to cheer us up and she sang Danny Boy,’ said Emma.

‘It was lovely and I sent out the recording to friends, family and the Irish in France Association (IIF) and they were all asking for more. She said she would do a surprise for us.’

Little did Emma realise that Sinead would be singing a Cork anthem from her balcony to her and all her neighbours. Not being a Cork woman, Sinead had to learn the works of the Cork favourite and sang a haunting version of the song.

‘It was truly amazing and it was so kind of her and it was a special moment to hear ‘the banks’ being sung in Paris. The local reaction was great, too, and there was a lot of cheering and applause, which was all the  more surprising as not many of them would known the song!’

Emma, said that despite the lockdown, there is a real sense of community where they live.

‘Every night at 8pm we go out on our balconies and clap and cheer for the essential services and at the end people are shouting ‘goodnight’ and waving to each other. These are lovely moments and our spirits are lifted by things like Sinead signing, the night clapping, our great French and Irish friends.’

‘Our stock of Barry’s Tea is high too, so that’s great!’ she added.

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