Life with Daniel O’Donnell – Majella O’Donnell


On a rainy November day in 2002, Majella McClelland from Tipperary, shattered the dreams of thousands of women of ‘a certain age’, when she married Daniel O’Donnell, in St. Mary’s church, in the tiny coastal village of Kincasslagh, in Donegal. 

‘I think I spent most of the day with my chin on the floor’, she recalls. She had never before been exposed to such hysteria and was totally unprepared . ‘I couldn’t believe the amount of cameras clicking away, it was a continuous noise. I kept saying to myself ‘Take everything in, go nice and slow, try to remember every second’. 

There was more to come. 

‘When we drove to Letterkenny for the reception, although it was a bad day, drizzling with rain, people were out of their houses on the country roads - one man was playing the bagpipes as we passed. People had built bonfires along the way, they were coming out of their houses waving banners. It was just amazing! As we drove into the town of Letterkenny, there was a huge banner across the street saying ‘Congratulations Daniel and Majella’.

Their arrival at the hotel was almost Hollywood. ‘It was like the night of the Oscars - people crowding around the gates of the hotel. We didn’t sit down to eat until nine in the evening and the disco didn’t start until 1am, going on until 7’. She laughed. ‘We had the most fabulous day’. 

Although they had been approached by various ‘celebrity’ magazines, the O’Donnells declined.

‘We wanted control over who we invited. You know how accessible Daniel has always been to his fans, we wanted them to be able to come if they wanted. There were no celebrities at the wedding, just family and friends. Some people we hadn’t seen for years but who had, at some time, touched our lives in a special way. It was perfect’ 

Majella comes across as a warm, genuine person who has won the jackpot and knows it. 

‘It really is like a fairytale. I was on my own, with two kids, hitting forty, without any real direction, then suddenly to meet somebody who is good looking, has a lovely, lovely personality and is single! If he was a plumber or a house painter, I would still be the happiest woman on earth because he is such a wonderful person.’ She agrees ‘Yes, we’re really lucky, the two of us. We have a ball together, we have great fun’.

They met in Tenerife where O’Donnell keeps a holiday home and where, ironically, it was Majella’s parents who introduced them.

This interview appeared in the Irish Post June 3. 2006

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