Dear Old Donegal

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"Dear Old Donegal" is a traditional Irish folk song popularised by American singer Bing Crosby and written by Steve Graham. The song has an 'upbeat' rhythm and is meant to be the words of a poor Irishman who has to leave his homeland to go to United States, however, he gets to return to his native County Donegal after becoming successful in the United States.

Dear Old Donegal was also performed by Judy Garland, Zina Bethune, and Vic Damone as part of the All-Purpose Holiday Medley on The Judy Garland Show in 1963.[1] It was parodied by Allan Sherman on his album "My Son, the Folk Singer", as "Shake Hands With Your Uncle Max", using Jewish references rather than Irish. The tune of the song was used in the US comedy Family Guy for the song "Drunken Irish Dad", which was sung by Peter Griffin in the episode "Peter's Two Dads". The song was even nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.[2]


Forrest Tucker sang the song in his role as Sergeant O'Rourke in one episode of the television series F Troop. It was also sung by Don Knotts as "Barney Fife" in an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" (when he was dressed up like a woman to show what a pushover the Mayberry Bank was).

Its latest incarnation is a comedic version about an evil capitalist arriving in Hell, where he meets all his role models in the trade, by Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine, parodists from Woodstock, NY, on their 2007 CD "Poor, On Tour, & Over 54".


Many versions of the lyrics exist. Some have the singer's 'sister Kate' and the girl at the garden gate as separate people, different lengths of time since the singer left Ireland, and multiple versions of the names sung in the body of the song.


  1. ^ Larsen, Ken (2007). "Judy Garland TV Songs". Judy Garland Database. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  2. ^ "Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour)". 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-14.