by Louise Doyle
THE mother of Lifford singer Jessica McKean has spoken of her pride in her daughter after she proudly represented Ireland at the Junior Eurovision finals in Nice at the weekend.
The talented 10-year-old gave a mesmerising performance of ‘Aisling’ in front of a live television audience of millions on Sunday night, but sadly it was not to be.
Despite not being crowned the winner, the Raphoe Central National School pupil can hold her head high after doing her country very proud.
Jessica garnered 42 points from the public vote, but finished 16th overall in the final.
She has been cheered on all the way by her devoted mum, Sarah, dad, Wesley, sister Louisa and little brother Archie.
The family returned home on Monday, with a surprise shout out from the pilot ending what was an unforgettable week for Jessica, her parents and siblings.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Jessica’s mum Sarah said the whole experience was “unforgettable”.
“We had two hosts by our side 24/7 from the moment we landed in France. The hotel was fabulous and every child who took part in Eurovision stayed in the one hotel which was lovely as they all got to know one another and became friends. There was no rivalry at all.
“The opening ceremony was amazing, it was like all of the contestants stepped out of their ordinary lives and became stars. The atmosphere was just incredible.
“Another lovely thing that happened was that all the contestants travelled on board a wheel train mobile around Nice. Everyone was waving at the contestants. Everything that could have been thought off was in order to make it as special as possible.”
Sarah said as well as enjoying all the fun parts of the competition, there were also busy days in the rehearsal studio.
“There were days set aside for fun and there were days set aside for rehearsals and sound checks. There was a lot of preparation ahead of the live event in terms of rehearsals and sound checks. It wasn’t just a case of turning up to sing your song on stage.”
Sarah said the standard of all the singers was “unbelievable”.
“All the children who took part are winners. We’re very proud of Jessica, it has been an incredible experience for her. She did brilliantly, we’re all so proud of her.”
The family are enjoying being at home following their whirlwind week in France.
“The pilot giving Jessica a surprise call out on the plane was lovely, we didn’t expect it at all but it was a lovely finish to the week.
“It’s nice to be home again, and we are so thankful for all the support. Everyone has been so good.”