Thousands of fans thronged the streets of Dungloe for the official opening of the Daniel O’Donnell Visitor Centre on May 6th. It made national news headlines as one of the country’s biggest successes of that year. Daniel’s life story and memorabilia are now a tourist attraction in his own hometown, in his own lifetime. This puts him on a par with Dolly Parton (Dollywood), Elvis Presley (Graceland) and Loretta Lynn (Hurricane Falls).
This is the show that Daniel had to risk life and limb for on the back of a London Motorcycle. This was Daniel’s own Christmas Special, so you will see why he simply had to be there. It was recorded in the beautiful setting of Powerscourt House in Co.Wicklow. The guests were very varied, and amongst them were Kristina Rihanoff (his Strictly dance partner), Declan Nerney, Una Foden (Declan’s Niece), Shane Filan of Westlife, Derek Ryan, comedian Pat Short, soccer star Packie Bonner and hypnotist Keith Barry. Everyone had a great night and it was aired on St.Stephen’s night to great acclaim.
This was Daniel’s third successive year as
a presenter on the TV Series ‘Opry An Luir’.
His ability to talk and sing in the Irish Language (Gaeilge) rightfully gained him admiration from TV critics and viewers alike. Daniel takes refresher courses each summer and so his Irish improves year on year and this comes across in each series. Guests this time round included Charlie Landsborough, Louise Morrisey, Brendan Shine, Dominic Kirwan and many more. The series was aired from October onwards.
Daniel met up with presenter and Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman on Owey and Aranmore Islands (off the coast of Donegal) in the autumn of 2015 to film an episode for ‘Holiday Of A Lifetime’. Daniel spent many of his childhood days holidaying on the islands and gave Len the star treatment by treating him to crab claws and seaweed, cooked over an open fire, as they would have done in his grandparents time. Needless to say that they went down a treat and Len really enjoyed his time there with Daniel. The programme aired in February 2016.
It has been hailed as one of Daniel’s most relaxed TV performances when he was interviewed by veteran chat show host Gay Byrne on the top rated “For One Night Only” programme on RTE on August 5th 2011.
Daniel said he enjoyed it so much because ‘it was like sitting down and talking with an old friend’. The programme was centred around songs as opposed to covering his whole career. They picked out five songs and it was these songs that governed what the content of the show was.
The songs were ‘My Donegal Shore’ - the first song Daniel ever recorded, ‘I Just Want To Dance With You’ – the song that got him onto Top Of The Pops, ‘Sweet Queen Of Peace’ – the song Daniel got inspiration to write whilst on a visit to Medjugorie and finally a Rock n’Roll Medley which finished with ‘Tipperary Girl’.
In September 2013, Daniel recorded his 13th PBS Special at the Macombe Centre for the Performing Arts in Michigan. The special, titled ‘Stand Beside Me’ - because of the fact that Daniel fans had been supporting him for over 30yrs at that stage, debuted on PBS’s March 2014 Pledge drive. They recorded a lot of new material for the show that had not been done prior to that. Daniel said it was hard work but very enjoyable and it was well worth the effort in the end as the show turned out to be a great TV Special.
aniel has appeared on the Late Late Show on RTE many times before, but the one in late October 2015 was a very special one. The whole programme was given over to Irish Country Music and got a record audience of 1.4 million viewers. Daniel says ‘We are so lucky here to have so many great performers singing the music that we love’. Guests on the show included Philomena Begley, Big Tom, Dominic Kirean, Nathan Carter, Lisa McHugh and Derek Ryan to mention but a few.
Daniel was taken out of his comfort zone to dance on one of the biggest TV Shows in the UK, with over 11 million viewers, it gained him a vast new following to join his ever growing number of faithful fans. During the rehearsals that took place prior to the beginning of the series, Daniel admits that his excitement, more often than not, turned into an overwhelming sense of panic when he thought about stepping out onto the Strictly dance floor every Saturday night for whatever length of time he managed to stay in the show.