FRIENDS and family rallied around heartbroken singer Daniel O’Donnell as he bid an emotional farewell to his mother Julia.
Hundreds of mourners packed into St Mary’s Church in the west Donegal village of Kincasslagh for the funeral mass for the 94-year-old.
Mrs O’Donnell passed away on Sunday with Daniel and his brothers James and Bosco and sisters Margo and Kathleen by her side. She had been ill in recent months.
Daniel was supported by his wife Majella and the large gathering of family and friends.
Eleven priests concelebrated the Mass, led by Father Brian Logue, a local priest who returned from Scotland to conduct the service at the request of Julia.
Fr Logue spoke about how Julia was a “wonderful mother” and said he had no doubt she was with husband Francie in heaven.
“She was a gifted and talented person,” Fr Logue said.
“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, Fr Logue 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.”
Looking at the coffin, he 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.”
Among those attending mass was Fr Brian D’Arcy with Mary Duff singing hymns in Irish and English.
As the coffin was taken from the church, Daniel walked behind the cortege, reaching out to touch the glass of the hearse.
After the mass, Mrs O’Donnell was laid to rest alongside her husband at a private religious service in Belcruit cemetery.