By Shelley Marsden
HUNDREDS of fans of Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell travelled to Kincasslagh, Donegal on Tuesday to pay their respects to his mother Julia, 94, who died last weekend after a recent illness.
Julia O’Donnell died in the early hours of Sunday morning, after her son dashed back from a series of shows in Scotland to be by her side.
She was laid to rest on Tuesday after a requiem mass in St Mary’s Church, Kincasslagh.
The Very Reverend Pat Ward said he expected a “very large turnout” due to her famous son’s many loyal fans, some of whom had met Julia in person, the host of his famous family ‘tea parties’.
Daniel has often spoken of how important an influence his mother was on his life, particularly during his childhood and early teens.
Famous for her love of knitting, Mrs O’Donnell received a letter of acknowledgement last year from Buckingham Palace, after sending a pair of knitted gloves to the Queen.
“I decided to knit the gloves when I saw all the footage of her walking her corgis in the cold,” she said.
She had previously been sent a letter and a pair of rosary beads from Pope Benedict having posted him a pair of hand-knitted socks.
The singer announced his mother’s death on his website, saying: “It is with great sadness, that we have to announce that our dear mother Julia passed away peacefully, in the loving care of the staff of Dungloe Hospital, surrounded by all her family on Sunday, May 18, at 3.50am”.
“My siblings John, Margaret, Kathleen, James, and myself, would like to thank you all for the kindness you have shown to her down through the years. May her gentle soul rest in peace,” he added.
Daniel’s wife, Majella, who has been fighting breast cancer, also told her Twitter followers: “It is with sadness that I announce the death of Daniel’s mother Julia. Rest in peace”.
Julia O’Donnell was from the island of Owey off the Donegal coast. She moved to nearby Kincasslagh, and married local man Francie O’Donnell.
The couple had five children and Daniel, 52, is the youngest of these.
Julia’s husband died suddenly of a heart attack at just 49, when the singer was six, and he has spoken several times of his admiration for the strength of the woman that was left to bring up five children alone.
Julia had been living in a nursing home in Dungloe at the time of her death.