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Daniel’s mother laid to rest

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BY C.J.MCGINLEY
PICTURES DECLAN DOHERTY

A wonderful mother who had many talents including knitting and composing songs was how a priest and family friend described the late Julia O’Donnell (94), mother of singer Daniel O’Donnell, at her funeral mass on Tuesday afternoon.

The people of Kincasslagh came out in their hundreds to say farewell to Julia who passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning in Dungloe Hospital after a short illness

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Singer Daniel O’Donnell remained composed throughout but broke into tears as his mother’s remains were led from St Mary’s Church, for burial at nearby Belcruit Cemetery.

Hundreds of mourners turned up for the funeral of gentle Julia who lived for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Eleven priests concelebrated the funeral mass. They included Fr Brian Darcy, Fr John Joe Duffy and chief celebrant Fr Brian Logue who was present at Julia’s husband Francie’s funeral almost 50 years ago.

Julia’s remains were brought into the church by her sons and daughters James, John Bosco, Daniel, Margaret and Kathleen. Daniel’s wife Majella and a large following of family followed close behind.

A large wreath of white roses and lilies sat on top of Julia’s coffin.
Fr Logue, a local priest, returned from Scotland to conduct the service at the request of Julia.

He said Julia was simply a wonderful mother who had many talents including knitting and composing songs.

“The children were also blessed, as I would know, with a wonderful father Francie. I have no doubt now that he and Julia are together again in the Kingdom of God.

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“She was a gifted and talented person. She was very well known for her knitting, she knitted for the Pope, she knitted for the Queen and she received ‘thank you’ letters from both of them.”

To laughter from the congregation, he joked: “I cannot count the number of clerical black socks she knitted for me.

“She was also a composer of songs. When Daniel was nine-years-old he was at our home in Kincasslagh he offered to sing a song for us and it was called ‘there’s a shop at the corner called Logues’. My father’s shop.

“It was the first ever recorded song by Daniel. We still have the tape, the very first recording. And the studio it was composed was Logue’s kitchen.”

He looked at Julia’s coffin and said “Now Julia, I’m going to bid you farewell.

“Whenever I reach the golden gates, I hope, I hope you will be there to welcome me with a new pair of socks…and a song. One day I will meet you and we will sing together again.”

The funeral hymns, in both Irish and English, were sung by Daniel’s close friend Mary Duff.
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