“I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen”


The singer promises to take Kathleen home across the ocean. He says that -- even though she has lost her looks and her voice is sad -- he still loves her as she loves him. Once home (in Ireland?), they will visit their old haunts

Supplemental text

I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

From sheet music published 1876 by John Church & Co.
Title page inscribed

1. I'll take you home again, Kathleen,
   Across the ocean wild and wide,
   To where your heart has ever been,
   Since first you were my bonny bride.
   The roses all have left your cheek,
   I've watched them fade away and die;
   Your voice is sad when e'er you speak,
   And tears bedim your loving eyes.

Oh! I will take you back, Kathleen,
To where your heart will feel no pain,
And when the fields are fresh and green,
I'II take you to your home again.

2. I know you love me, Kathleen, dear,
   Your heart was ever fond and true;
   I always feel when you are near,
   That life holds nothing, dear, but you.
   The smiles that once you gave to me,
   I scarcely ever see them now,
   Tho' many, many times I see
   A dark'ning shadow on your brow.

3. To that dear home beyond the sea,
   My Kathleen shall again return,
   And when thy old friends welcome thee,
   Thy loving heart will cease to yearn.
   Where laughs the little silver stream,
   Beside your mother's humble cot,
   And brightest rays of sunshine gleam,
   There all your grief will be forgot.


This song has produced a its own folklore (that it's traditional, that it was written in 1900, that the author's wife was named/nicknamed/renamed Kathleen, that it has something to do with Ireland, etc.). The facts, which rarely resemble the folklore, have been summarized in Richard S. Hill's article "Getting Kathleen Home Again" in the June 1948 issue of _Notes_, the journal of the Music Library Association.

Spaeth (History of American Popular Music) summarizes the facts as follows: Westerndorf's wife was named Jennie, not Kathleen; he was a Virginian then living in Indiana; and the song was supposedly inspired by something called "Barney, Take Me Home Again." - RBW


  • Kaplan's Melodists w. Vernon Dalhart, voc. "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" (Edison 51666, 1925)
  • Bradley Kincaid, "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen" (Bluebird 5569, 1934)
  • Shannon Quartet, "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" (OKeh 40302, 1925)
  • Zack [Hurt] & Glenn [?], "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen" (OKeh 45240, 1928)


  1. RJackson-19CPop, pp. 83-86, "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Dean, p. 107, "I Will Take You Back Again, Kathleen" (1 text)
  3. Geller-Famous, pp. 5-10, "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 259, "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" (1 text)
  5. Fuld-WFM, p. 296, "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen"
  7. ST RJ19083 (Full)
  8. Roud #12907
  9. BI, RJ19083


Author: Thomas P. Westendorf
Earliest date: 1876
Keywords: home love travel
Found in: US(MW)