Hardman popstar Bressie has told how he was nearly bombed while living in Israel as a kid.
The Voice coach moved to the Middle East when his dad was stationed there with the Irish Army during the conflict with the Lebanon.
But Bressie – who along with his mum and sister – was living in a different part of the country was left shocked after being rushed into a bomb shelter and hearing fighter planes overhead.
“The first day we were there, there was a 12 day war going on between Israel and the Lebanon, and we were living on the border in an apartment,” he said.
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“And I remember at 2 or 3 in the morning, my mum coming into the room telling me we have to get into the bomb shelters down in the apartment because the Lebanese, the Hezbollah, were staring to shell.
“And I thought this was brilliant. You go down to the bomb shelter and you think you’re in a TV show, or a film. Then you hear the ground shaking.
“And with those, it was probably never going to reach us. But then you’d hear the Israeli planes flying up to bomb and you can hear it and feel the ground shake.
“And the one thing that scared me most was that my father was up there. So he was in the Lebanon, and we were in Israel, and we were hearing this and hoping that the Irish guys were all right.”
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And Bressie, who admits he was “very naive” about the situation in Israel where he played soccer with gun-wearing soldiers, feels now that we are too likely to harp on about Irish conflicts we never lived through.
“We do take things for granted in Ireland, and people talk about the issues that Ireland have had. But let’s face it, we’ve never witnessed them,” he told An Irishman Abroad.
“I’ve never witnessed them. I knew they were going on, and up the border. I know my Irish history very well, and it’s an incredible history, but I never experienced it.
“I never had to worry about leaving my house because I might get beaten up by a soldier. But in Israel you witnessed it.”
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And Bressie also revealed how being away in Israel changed him – and made him as dark as Will Smith.
“When I came back, most people didn’t recognise me because I was that dark. I just went from being a pasty, chubby 12-year-old, to being lanky,” he said.
“And I looked like Will Smith, I was that dark. People were asking, ‘Who is this fella?'”