I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen is a popular song written by Thomas P. Westendorf in 1875. In spite of its German-American origins, it is widely but wrongly thought to be an Irish ballad. Westendorf, then teaching at the reform school known as the Indiana House of Refuge for Juvenile Offenders in Hendricks County, Ind., wrote it – apparently – for his wife (who was, however, named Jennie). It's in the form of an "answer" to a popular ballad of the time, "Barney, Take Me Home Again," composed by Westendorf’s close friend, George W. Brown, writing under the nom de plume of George W. Persley. "The church is blowing a sad windblown 'Kathleen' on the bells..." is the first sentence of Jack Kerouac's novel Big Sur. A bit further: "I hear 'I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen' being bellroped so sad in the fog winds out there..."
Elvis Presley released a version (with overdubbed accompaniment) of him singing to his own piano-playing on the 1973 self-titled album called Elvis on RCA Records, better known as The Fool album. He can be seen rehearsing the song by himself in the 1981 documentary This Is Elvis as taken from the footage for the 1970 film That's the Way It Is. He can also be heard performing the same song while in the Army while stationed in Germany in the so-called "Bad Neuheim Medley" of the 1997 RCA CD boxset Platinum : A Life In Music.
Michael Crawford performed the song for his album In Concert in 1998, and also in his concert tour.
Mitch Miller – Favorite Irish Folk Songs – Originally released 1959 Sony BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT – USSM10020418
Ken Curtis and The Sons of the Pioneers – Featured in Rio Grande, the last of John Wayne's "Cavalry Trilogy" classic western movies, as "The Regimental Singers" singing to Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
Slim Whitman recorded a version in 1957, on Imperial 8310, also issued in the UK on London HLP 8403.
In the Star Trek episode, "The Naked Time" (first aired Sep. 29, 1966), the crew of the Enterprise is affected by a substance, unknowingly picked from an uninhabited frozen world about to break up, that brings repressed feelings and behavior to the surface. One crewman, Kevin Thomas Riley, who fancies himself a descendant of Irish kings, locks himself in Engineering and shuts the engines off, causing the ship to fall out of orbit toward the disintegrating planet. While the behavior-altering disease spreads through the ship, and the ship continues to fall toward the planet, Riley adds to the stress by repeatedly singing, "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" in a half-drunken way through speakers he has locked open throughout the ship.