Five reasons to love Daniel O'Donnell

The Donegal crooner has long been known for his random acts of kindness and for connecting with fans
Five reasons to love Daniel O'Donnell

O'Donnell made headlines this week after surprising a Cork family by singing over the phone at their mother's funeral.

It seems like everyone is talking about Daniel O’Donnell after he surprised an Innishannon family by singing over the phone at their mother’s funeral this week — just adding to the long list of reasons why the crooner is so beloved.

It wasn’t the first act of kindness the Donegal native has carried out for fans, with the singer often reaching out to connect with the public. Between tea parties, video calls, meet and greets and shout-outs, ‘wee Daniel’ has long captured hearts.

Here are just a few of the reasons why he has become a national treasure over the years.

‘A genuinely lovely man’ 

This was what Late Late Show viewers were tweeting after O’Donnell told Ryan Tubridy that he planned to give all the money he made from a gig last year to his crew.

He set up the live stream as a way to make sure they would get an income during the pandemic, doling out the profits between them once expenses were covered.

"I was aware that the band didn't have any work and I just approached them and I said, 'Would you like to come together, the crew and the band, and do a show and we will live stream it and charge for the ticket'...I don't need anything from it.” Dead right Daniel.

Yes man 

O’Donnell was very open about his views on the 2015 marriage equality referendum, telling Ray D’Arcy that he didn’t see "what a Yes vote [was] going to do against anybody".

Sharing his opinion on the matter might have been a big break from his traditionalist image, but the singer felt the cause was worth talking about.

“I just feel we’re discriminating against a lot of people who feel their lives would be better. I can’t see anything on the other side that will be detrimental. All of the people who know what they're talking about are telling us that it’s absolutely no difference who brings up the children, as love as they’re brought up in a loving environment.” 

Random acts of kindness 

O'Donnell is known for arranging meet and greets with fans after concerts. Picture: North West Newspix
O'Donnell is known for arranging meet and greets with fans after concerts. Picture: North West Newspix

Many people have shared stories about random acts of kindness that they’ve witnessed when meeting O’Donnell.

One man even rang Radio One to share a story about how when his aunt and uncle were travelling home to Ireland from Seattle following the death of their son, O’Donnell was on the same flight and insisted on swapping seats so the grieving parents could fly first-class.

“My aunt was crying in the departure lounge and Daniel came over and asked what was the matter. When she told him he stayed with my aunt and uncle comforting them. When they got on the plane he insisted on swapping seats with them so they could fly first-class and made sure they got everything they needed,” the listener said.

Another Twitter user shared a story about how the singer sends a Christmas card every year to their sister and phones her when she has surgeries.

“Daniel has called to our house for years to visit his biggest fan, my sister. Phoned her pre/post surgeries, sends Xmas card every year for 30 years, talks to her during concerts," the Tweet read.

He has also been known to send video messages to fans during the pandemic. One County Down native was “delighted” when O’Donnell popped up on her screen last year, after her granddaughter emailed to tell his management about how re-watching his concerts was getting her granny through lockdown.

“She was only delighted. It was for her 88th birthday so it made it really special,” says Anna Vaughan. “She was already his biggest fan but even more so now.” 

Charity work 

In 2018, O’Donnell received an award and was inducted to the Scandinavian Hall of Fame for his humanitarian work.

Most notably, the singer raised more than €700k for the Romanian Challenge Appeal that year, which helped to build houses for disabled and abandoned children in Romania.


Daniel O'Donnell and Majella got married in 2002
Daniel O'Donnell and Majella got married in 2002

Though it broke many hearts, the world has fallen in love with Majella O’Donnell since she married the star in 2002.

Her memoir, It’s All in My Head, was a bestseller when it was released and her banter with her husband led to the couple even getting their own show, Daniel and Majella's B&B Road Trip.

Fans adore her willingness to talk about issues such as her depression and followed her breast cancer journey with a heavy heart in 2013.

The businesswoman has an amazing voice in her own right and has often appeared onstage alongside her husband.

From Cork all the way up the Donegal Shore — the pair continue to be a power team that we just can’t get enough of.

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up