Memories of Val Doonican

I was listening to BBC Radio Five Live in the early hours of this morning and was really saddened to hear of the death of Waterford-born singer Val Doonican.

Val Donnican in 1971 1927-2015 Photo: www.wikimedia,org
Val Donnican in 1971

Val was a huge part of my growing up and we watched him on his BBC television show for years and years every Saturday night  from when it started in 1965. Those were the days of the black and white telly, the roaring fire and the whole family gathered ~ Mother and Dad on their easy chairs and us kids on the sofa ~ me the youngest invariably in the lumpy bit in the middle but feeling all secure and nestled.

In the early 1970s, when we were living in Drogheda, it was like a dream come true when news hit town that Val Doonican was coming to perform in concert. It was the first concert of a ‘big star’ that I ever went to and Mother and I revelled in every moment.

I got Val Doonican’s autograph that night and was stunned with the fact that he took the time to talk with eleven-year-old me as if I was the only person in the world.

So many songs, so many memories associated with a man who hailed from my native Co. Waterford and made such a success of life from tough beginnings.

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

21 thoughts on “Memories of Val Doonican”

  1. Okay are you my twin! I remember all of those memories of sitting on the sofa though there were eight of us including mum and dad so as we only had the same suite as you 3 of us had to sit on the floor !! I never went to a concert of Val’s but i would of loved too!!

  2. My memories are confused as to whether we had the Val Doonican show here in Australia but I certainly remember watching it in England. Mum would draw the sofa up in front of the fire and the whole family would sit and watch, with Mum and Dad on their chairs of course. I loved his music – so sad to see the icons of my child hood – slowly disappear. Vale Val Doonican.

    1. Hi Olga, seems like it was such a family show or maybe they were times when families watched TV together.
      Yes, it is very sad to see these people who were there all our lives passing on.

  3. I have to confess that I had never heard of Val Doonican until this morning when I read his obituary in the NY Times. (I did think of you immediately, and wondered if you had liked his music.) Your tribute is ever so much nicer than the NYT.

  4. I remember his show being a must watch in our house. He was a lovely gentle character. There were great memories of him shared on radio the other day. Many like your own.

    1. Hi Tric, thanks for writing. Yes, a wonderful character who seems to have been universally loved. He certainly won’t be forgotten. It was great that he got the Freedom of Waterford in recent years. It meant a huge amount to him.

  5. What an Ambassador for Waterford this great singer was. I always felt proud to be able to say that he also came from my home county. Easy going singer with an easy going personality. Loved to watch his TV programmes.

    1. Lily, I’m with you all the way about that pride, as a Waterford native, in knowing that Val Doonican had his roots here too. A wonderful singer with a splendid personality.

  6. I didn’t realise he was from Waterford. Indeed he was a regular in the corner of our Birmingham sitting room as well. And still I chant to myself ‘the road from Cork to Dublin is a vale of pains and aches’ if I’m setting out on that journey.

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