Monday, 06 July 2015 11:31

Margo (Margaret) O'Donnell (Donegal):Irish Heritage Hall of Fame Inductee

Written by Derry JF Doody

Famous Daughter Of Ireland: Singer Category:


Donegal Singer One Of Ireland's Most Popular Artists


To a whole generation of Irish people interested in country music, mention of the name "Margo" and everybody knew there was only one Margo in Ireland.

The Kincasslagh, Co. Donegal country singer was an immense artist in the Ireland of the 1960’s and ‘70’s.


With such distinctive and unique vocal tones, her voice was instantly recognisable on the radio and even listening to Margo without the gift of an ear for music, one could immediately identify Margo O’Donnell's unique voice.


Born in 1951 early life for the O’Donnell family in Kincasslagh was not a bed of roses and the sudden death of her dad, Francis O’Donnell, at a young age, meant financial hardship was never far from the O’Donnell front door.


Margo (Margaret Catherine O’Donnell) was the second eldest of five children, John, Margo, Kathleen, James and Daniel, who became a National and International entertainer also. Growing up around Burtonport, Co. Donegal, Margo went to work at an early age to support her mother, Julia and her younger siblings.


Singing came naturally to the Donegal woman and local concerts and the church choir were instruments of great inspiration to move on to higher stages. In 1964, a local band were keen to recruit Margo who was just 13 years old.


The Keynotes Showband became the seed that started Margo into the showbiz world and they played in Scotland also which gave the Kincasslagh lass great experience at such a young age.


Her early career aspirations centred on becoming a nurse, maybe find romance and build a family but showbiz can be a tricky road for many entertainers. At seventeen she went into a recording studio with The Keynotes and recorded ‘Bonny Irish Boy’ with ‘Dear God’ on the flip side.

The joy of recording her first album was short lived when her Dad Francis died in the week of her record release.


The new record greatly increased the popularity of Margo and The Keynotes and a follow up release in 1969 ‘Road by the River’ with ‘Eyes of a Child’ on the flip side, took the country by storm and Margo was now quickly becoming the most popular female country singer in Ireland.


With her star sign booming a new band was launched ‘Margo & The Country Folk’ in late 1969.

The era of her new band has been described as explosive and wonderful.


Ballrooms were coming to curtain down in the late 1960’s and early ‘70’s but unfazed by the demise of the popular ballroom venues, Margo’s career continued to blossom.

Touring and showbiz go hand in hand and living out of a suitcase for many years brings unwanted pressures. Nobody was exempt from the side effects of moving constantly and performing at the peak of their ability.

It is the fans who make or break an artist and Margo understood the necessity to remain close to her legions of fans at home and abroad.


Some may question why Margo O’Donnell is incorporated in our All Ireland Hall of Fame Online Gallery   but a brief journey through her many songs recorded will summarise the immense popularity of the country and Irish singers outstanding reputation in Irish musical circles.


Parcel of Dreams; The One I Love the Most; If We Were Meant to Fly; Too Old to Die Young; Heaven Is My Homeland Donegal; Cottage by the Sea; Come With Me To Clare; You’re Welcome One And All

are just a minor sample of Margo’s treasure throve of popular hit songs.


From the 1960's generation of ballroom dancers thousands of Irish men and women at home and abroad will hold wonderful memories of the Donegal lass and recalling her fame in our gallery of Famous Sons & Daughters Of Ireland is testament to the popularity of Margo O'Donnell as one of Ireland's greatest female artists.

Last modified on Monday, 05 April 2021 10:28