Northern Ireland

Daniel O'Donnell takes a break from 'gruelling schedule'

Daniel O'Donnell
Image caption Daniel O'Donnell is to scale back dramatically on his concert tours

The Donegal singer, Daniel O'Donnell, has announced he is taking a break from touring in 2012 after 30 years on the road.

The Kincasslagh man will be scaling back on his usual gruelling schedule, performing only a handful of times to his most faithful fans.

He is due to celebrate his 50th birthday this month.

Earlier this year, he became the first artist to have an album in the UK charts for 24 consecutive weeks.

His album, Moon Over Ireland, made it to number 11 just a week after its release.

"To be in the charts is great after all these years," he said.

It is understood he will spend Christmas with his mother in his native Donegal. He usually sings at Christmas Mass there.

Daniel O'Donnell first stepped onto a stage in 1982 with an electric guitar he could not play - all he wanted to do was sing. He made his first record the following year.

During his career O'Donnell has made albums of gospel music, and songs from the 1950s and 60s but he said it was a pleasure to record an album full of songs about his homeland.

"There's a song about every crossroads and every dog fight," he said.

"You know there's somebody writes the words about every event that happens and very often they become very popular songs."

And, he said, his own part of the country has more songs than most.

"Donegal is the county that I come from. I am sure it must have a hundred songs and I have recorded a good few of them," he said.

O'Donnell makes it a priority after his concerts to stay behind and meet the people who have turned up to support him - which may explain why his career has lasted so long.

"It's always nice to meet people. I suppose for me it seems like the most natural thing in the world.

"I always think if you go somewhere and meet nobody you haven't been."

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