Daniel O'Donnell

Brett Family Daniel O'Donnell Grand Country Lennon Sisters Osmonds Shoji Tabuchi Sight & Sound Tony Orlando Uptown Cafe Yakov Smirnoff

Daniel O'Donnell


Daniel O'Donnell

Daniel Francis Noel O'Donnell Hon. M.B.E. (born 12 December 1961) is an Irish singer, television presenter and philanthropist. O'Donnell came to public attention in 1983 and has since become a household name in Ireland and the UK. He has also had considerable success in the US. He is known for his close relationship with his fanbase, and his charismatic and engaging stage presence. His music has been described as a mix of country and Irish folk, and he has sold over 10 million records to date.

O'Donnell was born and brought up in the village of Kincasslagh, in the Rosses region of County Donegal, Ireland. He grew up as the youngest of a staunch Roman Catholic family, with his parents Julia (née McGonagle born 1919) and Francis O'Donnell and his siblings: John (the eldest), Margaret (Margo), Kathleen, and James. He has described his upbringing as mostly happy, with the exception of the death of his father after a heart attack when O'Donnell was just six.


his orchestra

During his schooling years, O'Donnell considered pursuing a career in the bank. Despite this, a career in music was also always a possibility. As a youngster O'Donnell performed in the local religious choir. In 1980 he went to Galway to study Business Studies, however, he never settled down and by Christmas he was in his sister Margo's band. Margo had already forged a successful career in Ireland.

Not getting enough opportunities to perform solos with the band, in 1983 O'Donnell decided to record his own record. On the 9 February 1983 he recorded his first single, Johnny McCauley's "My Donegal Shore", with £1,200 of his own money, selling all the copies himself. Later that year, he formed his own musical group, Country Fever. After the group disbanded, he formed The Grassroots. In 1985, the manager of the Ritz label, Mick Clerkin, saw him perform, and introduced him to Sean Reilly, who remains as his manager to this day.


accordion backup

Under the management of Reilly, O'Donnell started to sell concerts out in England on a regular basis. According to O'Donnell, by January, 1992, he had hit rock bottom with exhaustion. After a three month recovery break, he returned to the stage, this time at the Point Theatre, Dublin.


tales of Ireland



By the mid-1990s, O'Donnell had become a household name across Ireland and Great Britain. He appeared on the biggest television shows in both countries, and won countless awards. Among the accolades, O'Donnell was named Donegal Person of the Year in 1989, which he still rates as the best award. He was given the Irish Entertainer of the Year award in 1989, 1992 and 1996. O'Donnell's first chart hit single in the UK was in 1992 with "I Just Want to Dance With You" (later covered by George Strait). This also led to his first ever appearance on Top of the Pops.


Branson stage show

During his lengthy career, O'Donnell has made friends with his childhood idols, including Cliff Richard and Loretta Lynn. He also forged a close professional relationship with the Irish songstress Mary Duff, who regularly tours with O'Donnell.


Mary Duff

In 2002, he was awarded an Honorary (due to his Irish citizenship) MBE for his services to the music industry. He has had twenty UK Top 40 albums as well as fifteen Top 40 singles and has sold 10 million to date. O'Donnell garnered considerable success in North America, when he starred in seven concert specials on public television stations (PBS) in the US. He has charted 18 albums in the Top 20 of the US Billboard's World Music Album Chart and also has had several entries in the Independent Albums Chart too.


Mary Duff

O'Donnell has his own birthday card, that when opened plays him singing 'happy birthday'.

During 2010 he will play to over 105,000 fans in Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, America, Australia and New Zealand. He will play to over 45,000 in the UK during 18 concerts, over 17 concerts in Ireland he will play to 25,000 and over 32,000 during 12 concerts in Australia and New Zealand.



For many years, O'Donnell was known as a bachelor. However, on 4 November 2002, he married 41-year-old divorcee Majella McLennan, whom he had met while on holiday in Tenerife three years previously. This union caused great controversy throughout Ireland, although McLennan's previous marriage, by which she has two children, had been annulled by the Catholic Church. The couple now live together in Meenbanad, County Donegal and also spend time at their second home in Tenerife.


O'Donnell is more known for his gentle, soft-spoken personality and clean cut image, than for his musical endeavours. Over the years he has attracted non-stop media attention and there has been countless cultural references to the performer. He was parodied as celebrity singer Eoin McLove in the Father Ted episode "Night of the Nearly Dead," as well as an episode of BBC sketch-show Chewin' the Fat, as an Irish singer named Donald O'Daniel. O'Donnell is frequently satirised in Irish comedy because of a common supposition that his target audiences consists mainly of rural ladies of a certain older age. The comedy show Bull Island and the radio sketch segment "Gift Grub" portrayed him in sketches frequently singing about his "mammy".


Christmas songs

O'Donnell is known for his close relationship with his wide fan base and has a meet-and-greet session after almost every concert. The extent of his devotion to his loyal fans went as far as his having a huge tea party outside his Donegal home every year

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