This is from Cavan, not Donegal, but it gives some idea of an 'American Wake.' It's from P.W. Joyce's Irish Peasant Songs.
SWEET COOTEHILL TOWN.
This song comes from Cootehill in the County Cavan. How it got to Limerick, where I heard it,
is more than I can tell; and indeed I know nothing whatever about it save that I learned it when a
mere child from the inimitable singing of Dave Dwane of Glenosheen, the best local singer we had. I
heard him sing it for the last time at an "American Wake," i.e. a meeting of friends on the
evening before the departure of several young people for America, as a farewell celebration. The
song was very suitable for the occasion: and poor Dave, who was himself going away with the
others, sang it with such intense feeling and power, that the whole company, men, women, and
children, were in tears. That is now more than sixty years ago; and to this hour I find it hard to
restrain tears when I recall the scene.