Donegal's First Couple

Daniel and Majella
Daniel and Majella Boxing Day 2013

Daniel O’ Donnell and Majella McLennan (Roche) married on the 4th November 2002 at the picture postcard setting of St. Mary's church, Kincasslagh. Local curate at the time, Fr Pat Ward, and the broadcaster Fr Brian D'Arcy officiated at the wedding. Speaking to local television after the ceremony, Daniel said: "It was better than we could ever have hoped for - the best day of my life”. Daniel’s last night of bachelorhood was spent at his mother Julia's house, while his bride left from the cliff-top home that she shared with O'Donnell on nearby Cruit Island. Speaking before the wedding, Majella told the BBC: "I see Daniel as Daniel the person, as opposed to Daniel the entertainer.  Singing is a huge part of his life and I enjoy that but I see the private side of Daniel".


Daniel and Majella met in Tenerife in 2000. While they might seem a rather unlikely couple in Showbiz, Majella argues that their different personalities are a positive part of who they are as a couple: “We’re like chalk and cheese”, she says; “That, in a way, is why we get on so well.” Since they married in Kincasslagh in 2002, Daniel says that it has transformed his life: “It has made a world of difference to me to have somebody there all the time”, he says; “Prior to meeting Majella, I didn’t have that in my life at all. It’s just a fulfilment that I wouldn’t have thought possible. I wouldn’t say that I was not happy or anything, but having somebody to share my life and success is tremendous”.


It can be argued that in some way Majella has also been responsible for recasting Daniel’s public image. “Ah Daniel has a great sense of humour…I couldn’t be with someone who’s boring”, she says: “Now I’m sure that a lot of people think that Daniel is boring but he’s definitely not that. We are very different. I love food and wine and Daniel doesn’t drink at all and doesn’t really care for food. But that doesn’t seem to matter”.


One month after they first met – and at their second ever meeting – Majella told Daniel about a curious feeling that she had:  "Something said to me that I was going to marry this man. It wasn’t that I was going to set out a plan to marry him or anything like that. It was almost like a premonition. I said it to Daniel – something that I would never say in a million years to a man that I had just met. He did tell me years later that he thought 'this woman is off her head!' "she laughs. 2013 was a tough year for the couple as Majella was diagnosed with breast cancer, also losing her father soon after. Speaking on Highland Radio, Daniel said that for the couple, 2014 is about looking forward to the future and enjoying other people’s company: “Please God this year will bring good health and happiness as we look to the future".