Daniel O’Donnell has spoken movingly of how he missed his mother Julia who was absent from her favourite chair when the family returned home from Christmas midnight Mass.
But he also got an opportunity to share in a Christmas Day engagement when wife Majella’s daughter Siobhan accepted a marriage proposal from boyfriend Gavin.
Daniel, speaking for the first time about his Christmas and New Year, said: “Our Christmas certainly was different this year as it was our first year without my mother. Even though she wasn’t there she was never far from all of our minds and we talked about her often.”
Daniel’s mother died last May, aged 94.
The 53-year-old said he took his place, as usual, in the choir at midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in nearby St Mary’s Church in Kincasslagh village.
“There really is something very special about this service for me,” he said. “After Mass, as we have done for many years, we went back to my sister Kathleen’s house for homemade soup.
“It was then that my mother’s presence was really missed as she was always sitting in the corner waiting to greet us all as we returned from Mass.”
Then when he returned to his own house Majella, her children from her first marriage Michael and Siobhan, and Siobhan’s boyfriend Gavin opened presents from underneath the Christmas tree.
“We got a great surprise and were delighted to be present when Gavin proposed to Siobhan. Thankfully for Gavin she said Yes!! There was tears and laugh-ter all around.”
Daniel even got an opportunity to watch his favourite movie twice, The Sound of Music, over Christmas.
Daniel and Majella spent the New Year at their holiday home in Tenerife and they will remain there until the end of January.
He travels to the US in February to perform on a week-long cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Carribean.
He won’t be performing again for 18 months, apart from a planned afternoon street concert in May for a fund-raiser for the community hospital in Dungloe.
He is taking a break from the music business to spend more time with Majella who has battled cancer.
Majella was delighted when her book, It’s All In The Head, recently won the Bord Gáis Energy Book Award.
Daniel told fans on his website: “We had a wonderful night at the award ceremony and it was nice for me to sit on the sidelines for a change.”
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