Kisses and tears of joy as Daniel finds his true love at last

It was like something straight out of one of his songs

It was like something straight out of one of his songs. The little church on the shores of Donegal, the proud old mammy, the radiant bride, and the much loved local son who had seemed set to remain a bachelor boy.

But Daniel O'Donnell finally got married yesterday and he never looked happier. His bride Majella McLennan was resplendent in her ivory dress and silver tiara but it was the groom who stole the show. He hugged and kissed some fans, waved presidential-style to others, and proclaimed it the best day of his life.

Only the weather wasn't perfect. It was wet and windy in Kincasslagh. Local people lamented that the child of Prague statues, rumoured to have been put under every bush in the village to guarantee sunshine, evidently hadn't worked.

Around 200 fans began arriving outside St Mary's Church from 10 a.m., three hours before the wedding was due to begin. Almost every county in Ireland was represented. Coaches and minibuses came from Scotland and beyond. The only male faces were the drivers.

The women sang Daniel's songs about old-fashioned love to keep up spirits in the biting cold. "Even snowstorms wouldn't have kept me away," said Mary Campbell. "Daniel has brought so much joy into my life over the years, I had to be here to wish him well on his big day."

A woman from Monaghan said: "Daniel is our king and this is the nearest Ireland will ever get to a royal wedding". A Coleraine woman said she hadn't slept a wink the previous night. "I haven't eaten all day either, I'm that excited. Daniel is like a son to me." She had bought a wedding present - a crystal bowl with glazed strawberries.

"Daniel mightn't like it but Majella will appreciate it," she said. Barriers kept the fans and the media back from the church and a private security firm checked invitations before the 550 guests gained entry. Rumours circulated that Ronan Keating and Cliff Richard were flying in but neither was spotted. No showbiz celebrities were present. The unpretentious Holiday Inn in Letterkenny was booked for the reception. Lucrative offers for exclusive pictures from Hello! and VIP magazines had been reportedly rejected. "Daniel's far too down-to-earth for all that Posh and Becks stuff," said one villager.

The groom's sister Margo said he was delighted to be marrying in the church where he was baptised and sang his first notes, "and we are very happy that he has, at last, found true love".

The man himself arrived at 12.50 p.m. in a silver limousine. He looked elegant in a navy suit and neck-tie and white waistcoat. The fans went crazy, singing and cheering. Some were crying and there were tears in Daniel's eyes as he embraced them. He insisted he wasn't nervous but admitted he had sometimes thought he would never hear wedding bells ring for him.

"This is the happiest day of my life. I'm on top of the world," he said . "I'm thrilled to be marrying someone as wonderful as Majella." His 83-year-old mother Julia who, according to some reports, was initially sceptical about the marriage was "very happy", he said.

Majella, who is from Co Tipperary, was half an hour late and word spread that maybe she wasn't coming at all. "Daniel must have lost a stone in weight worrying," said a fan. But the bride did arrive - there had been a problem with the security gate at home - and looked glamorous but cold in her sleeveless dress with its huge train.

"She is like a fairy princess," said one fan. The women welcomed the bride with It's a Long Way to Tipperary. The bridesmaids were Daniel's nieces, Fiona and Patricia Doogan, and Majella's daughter, Siobhán (14), from her first marriage.

They wore strapless burnt orange dresses and carried posies of red roses, marigolds and white lilies. Daniel's old school-friend, Dungloe businessman P.J. Sweeney, was best man. Local priest, Father Pat Ward, co-celebrated Mass with the priest and broadcaster, Father Brian D'Arcy.

The service lasted two hours and the joke was that while it took a long time to get Daniel to the altar, it was taking even longer getting him away from it. The couple finally emerged and there were kisses in front of the media. Daniel joked that his bride was becoming too accustomed to all the kissing. Majella promised the fans she would definitely look after their boy.