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Empty seat reserved for Daniel's mum

aN empty concert seat will be reserved in memory of Daniel O'Donnell's late mother Julia as the singer returns tonight to the venue that gave him his first big break.

The singer (52) and his band will play a sold-out show at Early's Bar on Arranmore Island.

Daniel returns nearly every year as a token of his appreciation for the support the Early family gave him at the start of his musical career.

However, tonight's event will be the first show the singer has given on the island in three years. It will also be the first since the death in May of his beloved mother Julia (94), who was born on nearby Owey Island and was a regular attendee at the Arranmore concerts.

"This will be a hugely emotional night for all of us," said bar owner Jerry Early.


"Julia always came to the concerts and we're planning to reserve an empty seat in her memory. She always sat in a wee corner at the back."

His parents Mary and Andrew were among the first to spot the young singer's potential in the early 1980s before he shot to worldwide fame. It was also on Arranmore that Daniel, then in his 20s, first experienced the thrill of a packed house.

An intimate gathering of some 170 fans will attend this evening's gig at 9pm.

He said Daniel was bringing his full production to the island for the first time and he will be greeted in style.

"The pipe band will meet them at the pier and will pipe them up to the venue," Mr Early added.

"The fact that this is the only concert Daniel is doing in Ireland this year apart from Killarney is a huge honour for us," he said.