'I'm honoured' - Daniel gets lifetime award on Late Late
Donegal singer Daniel O'Donnell was pleasantly taken aback when he was inducted into the Irish Country Music Hall of Fame on The Late Late Show last night.
In the fourth annual country music special on RTE One, the singer appeared speechless when host Ryan Tubridy announced that he was being honoured with the accolade.
He now joins Irish country legend Big Tom McBride, who was the inaugural inductee in 2016 before his death in April last year.
"I am truly honoured to receive this award and to follow such a great as Big Tom," Daniel said after accepting the award from Big Tom's lifelong friend Fr Brian D'Arcy.
"It means so much to me to be acknowledged by my peers here in Ireland."
He was presented the gong following a duet with Ryan, singing Roger Miller's classic King Of The Road, on a night that featured rousing performances from country stars Nathan Carter, Cliona Hagan and others.
"Daniel has been a firm friend of The Late Late Show for such a long time and it was our absolute pleasure to play a part in recognising the extraordinary contribution that he has made to the country music industry in Ireland," Ryan said.
"We wish him nothing but continued success and happiness in all that he does."
Fr D'Arcy added: "Nobody deserves the award more than Daniel. It's only the second time this award has been presented, the other recipient being the late Big Tom.
"It is in recognition of what he has done for country music, not only at home here in Ireland but across the world.
"Daniel is highly regarded as an international artist, especially in Nashville, the home of country music."
However, Daniel's legions of fans, both here and abroad, will be left scratching their heads if they attempt to visit the "hall" in person.
Unlike the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Irish Country Music Hall of Fame doesn't actually exist - at least not as a physical entity.
"There isn't a building or a location," said Joe Finnegan, spokesman for the Irish Country Music Association.
"It's purely an accolade."