Comedian Tom Allen speaks about his strong Derry and Donegal links

Comedian Tom Allen has spoken about his strong family connections to Derry and Donegal and how he ‘can’t wait’ to return here in June.
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The host of popular shows like ‘The Apprentice: You're Fired’ and a regular on ‘The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice’ the comedian, actor, presenter and writer is back on the road with his new show, ‘Completely’.

His debut performance at Derry’s Millennium Forum takes place on June 8, but he tells the Journal he’s no stranger to the North West.

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"I’ve been in Derry before, supporting Sarah Millican, but this is the first time I’ll be there doing my own show,” he reveals.

Comedian Tom Allen will perform at Derry's Millennium Forum in June, with tickets on sale now.Comedian Tom Allen will perform at Derry's Millennium Forum in June, with tickets on sale now.
Comedian Tom Allen will perform at Derry's Millennium Forum in June, with tickets on sale now.

"I’m really looking forward to it. My grandfather was from there and I have a lot of cousins who live in Derry and Donegal.”

Tom says he didn’t realise ‘just how connected’ he was to Donegal until he delved into his family history for a TV show called, ‘DNA Journey,’ with his good friend, Joel Dommett.

“It turns out that my mum’s dad is from Donegal. It’s very beautiful – Harkin was the name there.”

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Tom says that he initially believed his ancestors lived in a stately residence, until he was suddenly brought back down to earth during filming of ‘DNA Journey’.

"Joel’s family were all in these big, grand, beautiful buildings. They wouldn’t tell you anything until you got there and, then, they’d say: ‘Joel, this is where your great, great grandfather lived etc..

"We got to this big house in Donegal and, when they said: ‘Tom’, I thought: ‘Oh, I knew I was from some great house’ and, then, they told me this was where my grandfather worked!

"He was a farmer who married a lady’s maid and moved to Tipperary, I think. His son became a butler and I think it was his son who went to America in the early 20th century, to New York.

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"He was going to send back for his family, who at this point had moved to Derry. But he, sadly, died in New York. So, his family were here and worked in the shirt factories.

"I’m really excited to get back to Derry. One of my best friends, her father was a GP in Derry, Frank O’Connor. My mum also has beautiful quilts made out of the shirts, with incredible needlework. I have lots of links to Derry.”

Tom was supposed to get out on the road in 2020 but this did not happen due to Covid 19. He says he’s ‘delighted’ to finally be out on tour and ‘meeting different people’.

"I really like people, I suppose, and talking to people and you always find something really interesting wherever you go.”

Tom recently hosted the National Comedy Awards and said he feels ‘very grateful to be doing the things I always wanted to do.’

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In his new show, Tom outlines how he has finally moved out of his parents’ house, which has been great news for him, better news for department stores and even better news for his latest stand-up tour as he’s eager to share his life updates, get your opinions on his vegetable patch and delve into the protocol of inviting friends with children for dinner.

The show is called ‘Completely,’ he says, as he feels ‘like a complete adult now’.

“I’m so proud of the show and can’t wait to take it to Derry.”

Tickets are on sale now sale from the Millennium Forum Box Office. Telephone 71 264455 or visit for bookings.