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Tuesday 30 May 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# Deaf Ears
Daniel O'Donnell tells us why Irish people love country music
And why it’s hard for it to get coverage.

IRISH PEOPLE LOVE country music.

Remember that time He Who Shall Not Be Named sold 400,000 concert tickets in a matter of hours?

Or the time The Late Late Show did a country music special which was watched by 707,000 people?

With that in mind, it’s not surprising RTÉ have commissioned an awards show for the country music industry in Ireland.

The awards, which air at 9.35pm tonight on RTÉ One, will be presented by Irish music legend Daniel O’Donnell. / YouTube

The Donegal man came to HQ to tell us about the awards and why the industry is so big here.

I suppose down through the years, [country music] has always had a great home here in Ireland. From the 60s right through to now.

“We’ve always had a great deal of talent and people who sing country music.

“I don’t know if I could say why people love it, it’s just what they like. That shows through the generations.”


18/9/2014. Launch of Donncha O Dulaing Book Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

With the success of country music across the country, O’Donnell says it’s something of a surprise it isn’t more mainstream.

However, he says that’s changing.

“Surely to God, when that (the success of country music) is happening, it would tell you that’s what a lot of people want to hear?

Maybe that’s been falling on deaf ears, but I think the wax is beginning to fall out now!

“There’s a huge market for country music in Ireland.”

O’Donnell says that the lack of coverage given to country music isn’t about Dublin versus the rest of Ireland.

“It’s not right to say people from Dublin don’t like country music. But maybe the people in media don’t realise the enormity of the following country music has.”

With the event tonight, O’Donnell is busy learning a song to duet with Nathan Carter, but he says there is a slew of talent to watch out for.

Michael English, Derek Ryan, Lisa McHugh and Mike Denver have all, along with Nathan who has crossed all borders, are very popular.

“It’s important that there are a lot of popular people because one person can’t play everywhere.

“You can’t make two of yourselves.”

The RTÉ Irish Country Music Awards are live tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One

Daniel has a number dates in Ireland, Europe and the US over the coming months. Tickets for his Christmas shows in Dublin’s Convention Centre go on sale on Saturday.

Read: The Late Late Show country special draws biggest audience this year

Read: 7 things we learned from last night’s Late Late country bonanza

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