Daniel O’Donnell has said he can’t wait to sing with the local choir this Christmas after two years of COVID restrictions.
The Donegal crooner is joining Henry McKean for ‘Henry’s Christmas Cracker’ on Newstalk this Christmas Day at 10am.
The two-hour special features a host of top guests including Daniel, Neven Maguire and even Santa himself.
With the big day fast approaching, Daniel said his grandchildren have added a huge amount of excitement to the holidays.
“Christmas now starts kind of earlier on than it did for us the past few years when we used to lie in,” he said.
“Now we’re up early because Santa comes - our grandchildren are here and he comes - so if we’re lucky, about 6am we get the call.
“So, we have to run down the stairs to be sure – we’re never sure Santa will have made it here and the excitement is amazing when we find that he has finally gotten to us.”
He said he has only ever spent three Christmases away from Donegal.
“One was we went to Tenerife, one we were stuck in Dublin with the very bad snow and then one time we went up to Bambridge – when Dermot Bannon had our house under his thumb,” he said.
“It is lovely because, even in the lead up to Christmas, I get to be at different things – carol singing and so on.”
Daniel said the thing he is looking forward to most this year is singing with the choir at Christmas mass – something COVID prevented for the last two years.
“It’s great that all these things are kind of back to normal this year,” he said. “Just the whole thing of the chapel and singing with the choir.
“Last couple of years, I sang just with the organist. The first year of COVID, the priest asked, would I come, and it was myself, the organist and the priest – you know, the mass was streamed and nobody was there.
“Then even last year, there was big restrictions, so again, it was myself and the organist.
“That’s a very special thing for me to be able to do. It is just lovely.”
He said he has only ever worked on things he enjoys throughout his career – with his ‘Night of the Daniels’ special this Halloween one of the highlights.
Meanwhile, his latest Christmas album ‘I Wish you Well’ features 10 original songs from songwriters all around the country.
“I’m delighted to be able to use the material of Irish writers,” he said.
“You know there is great talent here and it is just lovely to be able to use what is around us.”
Henry’s Christmas Cracker will be broadcast on Newstalk this Christmas Day at 10am.
Featuring a host of interviews, a Christmas cracker world record attempt, and a celebration of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on its 30-year anniversary, the show has everything you could need this holiday season.
Main mage is a split-screen of Daniel O’Donnell and Christmas decorations.