The Daniel O’Donnell North West Association Dinner Dance, took place last week at a stunning hotel in Blackburn. It was filled to the brim with his adoring fans.

I arrived early in the day to do a sound check alongside the other band members and artists that were performing on the night. Doors were opening at 6.30pm to sit down for dinner, whilst we were inside the room sound checking, you could hear the buzz filling the air as the crowd gathered in their droves behind the double doors.

At 6.30pm… my goodness, my first thought was this is going to be a long night! We had dinner to eat, a speech, a auction, and then the live music. I was right, one of the longest nights I’ve been to in a while, 3am I got into bed and I left the venue at 2am!

I tell you what, it was some craic though! What a fantastic night filled with laughter, great company and amazing music from everyone!

I am no happier than when I go back to my roots, performing old time classics of Irish and Country music. I am completely blessed to have been brought up by my musical family and in this genre of music.

Live music started about 10pm I think, opening the show was my dear friend Joe Casserley. He performed a 30 minute set of Irish and Country, The dance floor was packed as soon as he started, his smooth vocals had everyone singing along and was a big hit with the women!

Following Joe, was a young man making a big hit on the Manchester Irish/Folk scene and beyond. Having had a couple of appearances on ‘the BBC 1 show, The Voice’ he has a solid following for his musical ability as a singer and guitarist, as well as getting a standing ovation for his dance rendition of Lord of the Dance, he was amazing, once an Irish dancing champion back in his day, great singer and lovely young man too.

Following Joe was myself, I just loved it, I sang a Country medley by Susann MaCann to open with, this got everyone up dancing and I spotted the lovely Daniel O’Donnell a few times, jiving away.

The crowd were fabulous, as my set progressed, I came off the stage into the crowd to have a dance with the ladies whilst I was singing, I don’t like being on my own on a big stage, I love to be in with the people!

Off I went to serenade some older fella, singing to him and had a cheeky sit on his knee, I don’t think he minded though. I didn’t anyway I was glad of the rest with the heels I was wearing 🙂

My set came to an end, now it’s time for The shawn Cuddy Band, who were just brilliant and dance away to Daniel O’Donnell. He was absolutely smashing and not a disappointed soul in the house. Why would there be! Performing all his big hits in his lovely style, was beautiful to see and hear.

The finale came, with all the members of the show for up on the stage together singing the last couple of songs, by that time I knew Daniel first hand, so I was a rose between two thorns, linking both Daniel and Joe, (just to hold me up, I’d had 2 wines by now).

I have to say Daniel O’Donnell was utter gentleman and a fine performer as you know. It was a delight to be on the same bill as him and the others and a big thank you to my dear friend Joe Casserley for making this happen.

My Nana, A Dublin singer herself, now sadly passed away would have been very proud of me, I know that for sure.

This is for you Nana, Nora Ryan xxx