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Daniel O'Donnell

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Daniel Francis Noel O'Donnell MBE (born December 12, 1961) is an Irish singer from County Donegal. With his mix of country and easy listening music, he has achieved success in both Europe and North America. He has starred in seven concert specials seen on public television stations (PBS) throughout America. To date he has sold over 10 million records worldwide.


Daniel O'Donnell was born in Kincasslagh, County Donegal, Ireland, the son of Francis and Julia O'Donnell. He grew up in Kincasslagh, with his four siblings: John (the eldest), Margaret (Margo), Kathleen, and James. He has described the Ireland of his childhood as a poor country. In 1968, his father died from a heart attack at the age of forty-nine. Daniel spent his childhood summers with his grandmother on the island of Owey (now uninhabited). Daniel's grandmother later came to live with the O'Donnells until her death in 1971.

Daniel O'Donnell - Can You Feel The Love

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O'Donnell's interest in music began as a teenager, when he enjoyed traditional Irish dancing at the local village hall. Discontented with life at Naomh Bríd Football Club, he told his sister Margo that he wanted to become a singer. Margo was already an established singer and a household name in Ireland and, in 1980, Daniel left college to join her band and pursue his dreams.

His career started to take off after he recorded and released Johnny McCauley's My Donegal Shore in 1983, with £1,200 of his own money, selling most of the copies himself. Later that year, he formed his own musical group, Fever. After the group disbanded, he formed The Roots. In 1985, the manager of the Ritz label, Mick Clerkin, saw him perform, and introduced him to Sean Reilly, who remains his manager to this day. O'Donnell is also good friends with Cliff Richard and the two have performed together on many occasions.

On 4 November, 2002, O'Donnell married 41-year-old Irish Majella McLennan, who has two teenage children from a previous marriage. The couple met while on holiday in Tenerife, where O'Donnell now has a second home. His main home is in Kincasslagh, where he had previously owned a hotel.

Daniel's autobiography is entitled My Story. 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 albums worldwide.



O'Donnell has produced and recorded over 30 albums, most of which are included in the following list:

  • The Boy From Donegal (1984)
  • The Two Sides Of Daniel O'Donnell (1985)
  • I Need You (1986)
  • Don't Forget To Remember (1987)
  • From The Heart (1988)
  • Thoughts Of Home (1989)
  • The Last Waltz (1990)
  • Favourites (1990)
  • The Very Best Of Daniel O'Donnell (1991) #34 UK
  • Follow Your Dream (1992) #17 UK
  • A Date With Daniel Live (1993) #21 UK
  • Especially For You (1994) #14 UK
  • Christmas With Daniel (1994) #34 UK
  • The Classic Collection (1995) #34 UK
  • Timeless: Daniel O'Donnell and Mary Duff (with Mary Duff - 1996) #13 UK
  • Irish Collection (1996) #35 UK
  • Songs Of Inspiration (1996) #11 UK
  • I Believe (1997) #11 UK
  • Love Songs (1998) #9 UK
  • Greatest Hits (1999) #10 UK
  • Faith and Inspiration (2000) #4 UK
  • Heartbreakers (2000)
  • Live, Laugh, Love (2001) #27 UK
  • Yesterdays Memories (2002) #18 UK
  • The Irish Album (2002)
  • The Daniel O'Donnell Show (2002)
  • Dreaming (2002)
  • Songs of Faith (2003)
  • Daniel In Blue Jeans (2003) #3 UK
  • At The End Of The Day (2003) #11 UK
  • The Jukebox Years (2004) #3 UK
  • Welcome To My World (2004) #6 UK
  • Teenage Dreams (2005) #10 UK
  • The Rock' N' Roll Show (2006)
  • From Daniel With Love (2006) #5 UK
  • Until the Next Time (2006)

Note: O'Donnell has charted 18 albums in the top 20 of the US Billboard publication's "World Music" albums chart and also has had several entries in the "Independent albums" chart too.


  • I Just Wanna Dance (1992) #20 UK
  • The Three Bells (1993) #71 UK
  • The Love In Your Eyes (1993) #47 UK
  • Whatever Happened To Old Fashioned Love (1993) #21 UK
  • Singing The Blues (1994) #23 UK
  • The Gift (1994) #46 UK
  • Secret Love (with Mary Duff - 1995) #28 UK
  • Timeless (with Mary Duff - 1996) #32 UK
  • Footsteps (1996) #25 UK
  • The Love Songs (1997) #27 UK
  • Give A Little Love (1998) #7 UK
  • The Magic Is There (1998) #16 UK
  • The Way Dreams Are (1999) #18 UK
  • Uno Mas (1999) #25 UK
  • A Christmas Kiss (1999) #20 UK
  • Light a Candle (2000) #23 UK
  • Morning Has Broken (2000) #32 UK
  • You Raise Me Up (2003) #22 UK
  • Crush On You (2006) #21 UK

Cultural References

Daniel O'Donnell was parodied as celebrity singer Eoin McLove in the Father Ted episode Night of the Nearly Dead, as well as an episode of BBC Scotland comedy sketch-show Chewin' the Fat, as an Irish singer named Donald O'Daniel, who had hits such as I've Got a Pal In Jesus.

O'Donnell is frequently satirised in Irish comedy because of a common supposition that his target audience consists mainly of rural ladies of a certain age ("mammies"). The sketch comedy show Bull Island (played by Gary Flood) and the radio sketch segment Gift Grub portrayed him in sketches frequently singing about his mammy, as well as (on Gift Grub) a surprisingly streetwise social commentator.

Irish comedian Conal Gallen featured Daniel O'Donnell in his cult song "I Want to Be a Millionaire", a mock reply to the question asked in the title of the television series Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which also featured an impression of Ian Paisley.

Chart success

Daniel's first chart hit single in the UK was a cover of the George Strait song "I Just Want To Dance With You". This also led to his first ever appearance on the British music show Top Of The Pops.

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