Dear Old Donegal lyrics

by Dermot Hegarty

It seems like only yesterday
Since I sailed from out of Cork
A wanderer from Erin's isle
I landed in New York
There wasn't a soul to greet me there
For a stranger on the shore
But the Irish luck was with me boys
And riches came galore

And now that I'm going back again
To dear old Erin's isle
Me friends will greet me on the pier
And greet me with a smile
There'll faces there that I never knew
I've been so long away
But me mother will introduce them all
And this is what she'll say

Shake hands with your Uncle Mike, me boy
And there's your sister, Kate
Sure she is the girl you used to swing
Down by the garden gate
Shake hands with all of the neighbours
And kiss the colleens all
You're as welcome as the flowers in May
To dear old Donegal

They'll give a party when I go home
And they'll come from near and far
And line the roads for miles and miles
With Irish jauntin' cars
The whiske'll flow like buttermilk
We'll fill your hearts with joy
And the piper will play an Irish tune
To greet the Yankee boy

We'll dance and sing the whole night long
Such fun was never seen
The boys'll be decked in corduroy
The colleens decked in green
There'll be thousands there that I never saw
I've been so long away
And me mother will introduce them all
And this is what she'll say

Shake hands with your Uncle Mike, me boy
And there's your sister, Kate
Sure she is the girl you used to swing
Down by the garden gate
Shake hands with all of the neighbours
And kiss the colleens all
You're as welcome as the flowers in May
To dear old Donegal

Meet Branigan, Fannigan, Milligan, Gilligan
Duffy, McCuffy, Malachy, Mahone
Rafferty, Lafferty, Donnelly, Connelly
Dooley, O'Hooley, Muldowney, Malone
Madigan, Cadigan, Lanihan, Flanihan
Fagan, O'Hagan, O'Hoolihan, Flynn
Shanihan, Manihan, Fogarty, Hogarty
Kelly, McGuinness, McGillis, McGuinn

Shake hands with your Uncle Mike, me boy
And there's your sister, Kate
Sure she is the girl you used to swing
Down by the garden gate
Shake hands with all of the neighbours
And kiss the colleens all...
You're as welcome as the flowers in May
To dear old Donegal

Song Details

Murder Hole - Donegal
Murder Hole - Donegal

Songwriter: Steve Graham

Brief: The story of a man who leaves Ireland and emigrates to America. He lands in new York where there is no-one to meet or greet him. After many years and new found fortune he returns to his homeland where he is warmly greeted by family and friends and a mother intent on introducing him to all the townfolk.

There are a number of minor changes from the original lyrics, perhaps the most significant is on the last line of the verse where the meeting of the townfolk occurs.

  • This vesion: Kelly, McGuinness, McGillis, McGuinn
  • Original version: Kelly, O'Kelly, McGuinness, McGuinn

References:
Cork: city in south-west Ireland, in the province of Munster.
Erin's Isle: Ireland
colleens: Irish girls
Donegal: a county in NW Republic of Ireland

Category: Irish Folk Song

Logo Dear Old Donegal is featured on the album Connemara By The Lake.

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