Warfield was born the eldest of four in Inchicore, Dublin in 1943 and he was educated at Synge Street CBS. He was apprenticed as a tailor until becoming a folk musician. He lives in Kilcock, Co. Kildare. In 2006, Warfield's wife Nuala died, followed by the death of his eldest daughter in 2007.
Derek Warfield is a singer, songwriter, mandolin player and a founding member of the Wolfe Tones, performing with the band for over 37 years. He has written and recorded over 60 songs and ballads. The Foggy Dew was the first of 16 albums recorded by the Wolfe Tones (1964) while the popular Sing Out For Ireland (1987) was the last studio album that all four members were present on.
A solo album, Legacy was released in 1995 and was followed with Liberte’ ‘98, Sons of Erin, Take Me Home To Mayo and Clear The Way. Warfield also has a video Legacy and two books, The Songs and Ballads of 1798 and The Irish Songster of the American Civil War.
Warfield has performed his music and songs at American Civil War events and commemorations at such sites as Gettysburg, Sharpsburg and Harrisburg with his band, The Sons of Erin. Warfield’s 2002 release, Clear the Way is the second in his Irish Songs in the Civil War series.
The ballad “Take Me Home To Mayo”, written by Belfastman Seamus Robinson as a tribute to Michael Gaughan, was recorded as a duet with Irish American Andy Cooney and is the title track of another 2002 Warfield release.
In March 2006, Warfield released his 9th solo album, a 36 song double CD of Irish songs.
Derek now tours with his new band, Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones.
A biography of Robert Emmett in two volumes, although not written by Derek Warfield, has been published by him, and a collaboration with Raymond Daly of Tullamore has resulted in the publishing of a book of lyrics and histories of Irish songs called Celtic and Ireland in Song and Story.
Beggs complained of the "Blatant promotion of militant, armed republicanism" by the playing of this music, saying it was the same as "the speeches of Osama bin Laden being played on a trans-Atlantic Arabian airline."
Aer Lingus removed the material from their flights stating: "It is something that should not have been on board and we removed it immediately we became aware of it."
- "Christian Brothers School" (in English). Synge Street PPU. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- "The Wolfe Tones: official story" (in English). The Wolfe Tones. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- Celtic and Ireland in Song and Story