Donegal Danny lyrics

The Dubliners

I remember the night that he came in
From the wintery cold and damp
A giant of a man in an oilskin coat
And the bundle that told he was a tramp
He stood at the bar and he called a pint
Then turned and gazed at the fire
On a night like this to be safe and dry
Is my one and only desire.

So here's to those that are dead and gone
The friends that I loved dear
And here's to you then I'll bid you adieu
Saying Donegal Danny's been here me boys
Donegal Danny's been here

Then in a voice that was hushed and low he said:
Listen I'll tell you a tale
How a man of the sea became a man of the roads
And never more will set sail
I've fished out of Howth and Killybegs,
Ardglass and Baltimore
But the cruel sea has beaten me
And I'll end my days on the shore


One fateful night in the wind and the rain
We set sail from Killybegs town
There were five of us from sweet Donegal
And one from County Down
We were fishermen who worked the sea
And never counted the cost
But I never thought when that night was done
That my fine friends would all be lost


Then the storm it broke and drove the boat
To the rocks about ten miles from shore
As we fought the tide we hoped inside
To see our homes once more
Then we struck a rock and holed the bow
And all of us knew that she'd go down
So we jumped right into the icy sea
And prayed to God we wouldn't drown

But the raging sea was rising still
As we struck out for the land
And she fought with all her cruelty
To claim that gallant band
By St John's Point in the early dawn
I dragged myself on the shore
And I cursed the sea for what she'd done
And vowed to sail her never more


Ever since that night I've been on the road
Travelling and trying to forget
That awful night I lost all my friends
I see their faces yet
And often at night when the sea is high
And the rain is tearing at my skin
I hear the cries of drowning men
Floating over on the wind

[Chorus x 2]

Song Details

The Dubliners
The Dubliners

Writer: Phil Coulter - Irish musician, songwriter and record producer born in Derry, Northern Ireland (19 Feb, 1942).

Brief: The song is about a man who was the only survivor when the fishing boat he was in was destroyed in a storm where four other fishermen lost their lives. When he got back to the shore after a gruelling night in icy cold waters he vowed to never go back to the sea again. 

He became very melancholy and tramped around the roads of Donegal. Whenever he was at a bar drinking a few pints, he would re-tell the story of the disaster over and over again. His name was Danny, so they called him Donegal Danny.

Donegal - a county in NW Republic of Ireland, on the Atlantic - mountainous, with a rugged coastline and many offshore islands
Howth - Originally a small fishing village north of Dublin Bay.
Killybegs - a town in County Donegal - the largest fishing port in Ireland
Ardglass - a coastal village, townland and civil parish in County Down, Northern Ireland and still a relatively important fishing harbour.
Baltimore - a village in western County Cork, Ireland.

Category: Irish Folk Song

Covers / Albums: Mudmen Inc. (Donegal Danny), Malachi Cush (Kindred Spirits: Sings the Songs of Phil Coulter), The Drowsy Lads (Pick It Up), Charlie and the Bhoys (Chill Out Album), Cobblestones (Laughstory), Barleycorn (25 Most Requested Irish Ballads).

Album: The Original Dubliners

Back to Irish Lyrics - D Back To Top
Contact Me

Irish Boy