He is one of Donegal’s greatest ambassadors and now Daniel O’Donnell, the Kincasslagh crooner looks set to have his own museum/visitors’ centre in Dungloe.
In what is hoped will be a huge tourism attraction for West Donegal, the visitors’ centre is expected to open this summer with thousands of loyal fans set to make it a yearly site of pilgrimage. It will be located on the premises of the old National Irish Bank.
The move is expected to be further boosted by a recent renaissance in the Country and Irish scene, largely ignored by some of the more popular national media in recent years.
Last week, RTE was openly criticised, on their own, ‘The Daily Show’ by music legends TR Dallas and Louise Morrisey for the lack of play time for such music on RTE Radio One.
TR Dallas said that in a time when such music and its stars were still filling ballrooms and halls the length and breadth of Ireland, it was impossible to get airtime from the state broadcaster. No such problems for Daniel though! The new Daniel O’Donnell Visitors Centre will boast a television room which will recall Daniel’s life and meteoric rise to the top and a huge collection of memorabilia. The famous red book, “This is your Life” presented by Michael Aspel will also be on show, and even the MBE he received from Queen Elizabeth II. Other items will include Daniel and Majella’s wedding attire.
Pat Nora Gallagher told the Democrat that it was a huge undertaking, as it became clear how much memorabilia and awards had been collected over the years. Another novel apsect to the centre will be maps of North America, the UK and Australia, indicating where Daniel has toured over the years.
“The greatest challenge is to have it presented well,” he revealed.
One of the main brains behind the initiative, he added: “When moving out of his house on Cruit Island four years ago Daniel asked me to look after his memorabilia including his gold discs. Now we have finally got it together and with the help of Michael McDonagh, Sean Reilly and Mick Clerkin, we are really excited about the opening,” he said.
“The centre really will contain almost every aspect of Daniel’s life. We are hoping it will become a major tourist attraction for the area and be another great visitor attraction for people who are also interested in the music industry.”
Mr Gallagher said that as well as boosting tourism locally, tour operators to the region would now be able to add the visitors centre to the list of attractive locations to visit in the county.
“People from all over Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK will come via Donegal Town, Ballybofey or Letterkenny, so it will be beneficial all round.
“Local hotels will benefit and we hope that Ostan na Rosann can re-open. We want it to become a focal point and for a man that regularly plays to audiences of 120,00 when on a North American tour, the sky’s the limit.”