"I went over to see her and she is the most beautiful lady," she said of the visit. And while her family were worried about the toll that the trip could take on her, Macken insisted on "taking the bull by the horns," and undertaking the journey.When she knocked on the door, she was greeted by a man who was, in fact, her half-brother. "I told him I was from Ireland and that I had found my mum here and could we come in to see her, and he said 'certainly'," she explained.

She said she had a "great chat" with her mother during the three-day trip. "She was reading the newspaper and when she saw me, I said we were from Ireland and she said 'I was born in Ireland'. She was thrilled and she never let go of my hand."