Pic: The Guardian (briefly) mistook Daniel O’Connell for Daniel O’Donnell yesterday 8 years ago

Pic: The Guardian (briefly) mistook Daniel O’Connell for Daniel O’Donnell yesterday

An easy enough mistake to make, both in terms of the similarity of the names and the similar levels of respect both men command amongst the Irish people. Seriously.

While the historic state visit of President Michael D Higgins to the UK has naturally commanded a lot of attention amongst the fourth estate in Ireland, it isn’t as much of a big deal amongst the British media, with coverage of it often relegated to small paragraphs in newspapers or token mentions on radio stations and websites.


It was nice to see then, that it was the subject of a fairly lengthy and in-depth piece on The Guardian website yesterday recounting his visit to Westminster, a piece in which Michael D was described thusly by journalist John Crace.

“What Higgins lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in presence,” Crace wrote.

“He is one of those rare politicians who naturally inspires trust in an audience, a man for whom the bullshit radar can be switched off. An academic, poet, – he's no Heaney or Yeats but he's a lot better than the "O Ye's" of many Irish poets – author, as well as statesman. A man who has had a life both in and out of politics and who, at the age of 72, has yet to blemish his record on speaking out on human rights with his actions in defending them.”

So far, so good, but the piece was slightly spoiled by what would be a fairly innocent typo everywhere else, but in Ireland, is the difference between one of the most iconic figures in our history and a twee singer who, although he might be as well-known, hasn’t had quite the same effect on Irish history as the man whose name is remarkably alike to his.



The mistake was acknowledged in a footnote that’s still present on the piece on The Guardian, even if some might argue that Daniel O’Donnell himself was worthy of a mention alongside the other famous figures name-checked by Michael D and there was no need for the correction in the first place.