O'Donnell, Daniel (c.1666–1735), Jacobite soldier, was of Co. Donegal O'Donnell stock on both sides of his family. His father was Turlough O'Donnell of Ramelton, whose wife, Joan, was a daughter of Terence O'Donnell of Cúil Mhic an Tréin (Castleforward) and his wife, Rose O'Donnell (née O'Donnell), of Castlefin. A declaration of noblesse granted by James Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender, in 1710 in favour of Daniel O'Donnell, acknowledged that he was nearest kinsman to the earl of Tyrconnell, and that his father and elder brother had successively commanded Tyrconnell's regiment under the duke of Ormond.
Daniel O'Donnell was commissioned captain of a company of foot in December 1688 and colonel in 1689. After the treaty of Limerick he went to France, in whose armies he spent the remainder of his career. His first commission was as a captain in the marine regiment of the Irish brigade in 1692, and he served in that year on the coast of Normandy during the planned French invasion of England. He served in the French army of Germany (1693–5), and that of the Meuse until 1697. He was again attached to the French army of Germany in 1701, and that of Italy (1702–6); he was promoted lieutenant colonel in 1705.
He joined the French army of Flanders in 1707, succeeding Nicholas Fitzgerald in 1708 in the colonelcy of Fitzgerald's regiment – subsequently O'Donnell's regiment – and continuing to serve in Flanders until 1712. He was with the French army of Germany in 1713, and his regiment was reformed in 1715, half of it being incorporated in Major-General Murrough O'Brien's regiment, to which O'Donnell was attached as a supernumerary colonel; the attendant reduction of half-pay caused him difficulty, and he successfully sought an allowance in compensation, pleading his war wounds as well as his outlay of money on bringing soldiers from Ireland. He was made a brigadier by brevet in 1719, at which time his service ceased.
He married Theresa, daughter of Robert Strickland, of Catterick, Yorkshire, vice-chamberlain to Mary of Modena; she was the widow of John Stafford, comptroller of the household of James II (qv). The couple had one daughter, who was fourteen years old when O'Donnell died on 7 July 1735 at St Germain-en-Laye, aged seventy. He died in debt and his widow, after some petitioning, obtained a pension by 1739.
It is presumed that O'Donnell brought with him to France the celebrated manuscript psalter known as the ‘Cathach’, dating perhaps from the eighth century, and its ‘cumdach’ (shrine), of the eleventh century. The O'Donnells were hereditary guardians of this relic, which had been carried into battle at the head of their armies as late as the sixteenth century, and which was known to be in Donegal in 1647. The circumstances in which O'Donnell apparently entrusted it to a religious house in Belgium, or in Paris, as well as the circumstances of its rediscovery about the beginning of the nineteenth century are surrounded by obscurity and controversy. The manuscript, if not actually written by St Colmcille (qv) as traditionally held, is certainly connected with Columban monasteries, and is now in the RIA, while the shrine is in the NMI.