Arts

Books: Living the Dream a sure-fire stocking filler for Daniel O'Donnell fans

Daniel O'Donnell opens up about his emotions regarding his wife Majella's battle with cancer and his joy at taking part in Strictly Come Dancing in his new book Living the Dream

Big hair, don't care! Daniel O'Donnell with Dolly Parton and Portadown-born TV presenter Gloria Hunniford Picture: Courtesy of Daniel O’Donnell/The O’Brien Press taken from Living the Dream by Daniel O’Donnell with Eddie Rowley

Daniel O'Donnell has shared the stage with country giants such as Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn on his road to becoming an international singing star, a 'national treasure' and a much-loved son of Kincasslagh, Co Donegal.

In his just-released memoir, Living the Dream, a follow-up to his first autobiography, Follow Your Dreams from 1992, Daniel talks about some of the lowest points in his life since then. These include his emotions and worry during his wife Majella's battle with breast cancer in 2013 – much to the relief of the couple, she has since become cancer-free – and his heartbreak over the death of his mother Julia that same year.

Daniel writes about singing a last farewell to his devoted mother at her funeral. His friend, Co Fermanagh priest and country music broadcaster Fr Brian D'Arcy, who Daniel is seen here with, alongside former Late Late Show presenter Gay Byrne, was one of the 11 priests who concelebrated the Requiem Mass.

The book also features two of the high points in Daniel's career in those intervening years – his performance in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 with Siberian siren Kristina Rihanoff, and Daniel & Majella's B&B Road Trip, the RTE television series that sees the couple sampling the hospitality and enjoying the craic of guesthouse owners the length and breadth of the country, which has attracted huge viewing figures.

With his laid-back attitude and a memorable waltz with his partner to When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, Daniel managed to charm many Strictly viewers in Britain who had previously not known of him as a singer. Unfortunately however, his American Smooth dance did not go down well with the judges and he was voted out in the fourth round.

But behind all the success, Daniel also talks, with help from co-author Eddie Rowley, the Sunday World's showbiz editor, about the impact on his life from the relentless touring and recording which took him to the brink of burnout and forced him to reassess his priorities in life.

For all die-hard Daniel fans, Living the Dream is sure to be a sought-after stocking filler this Christmas.

:: Living the Dream (The O'Brien Press) by Daniel O'Donnell with Eddie Rowley is available now in hardback, priced at £16.99/€19.99, in bookshops and online

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