Are You Right There Michael lyrics

Brendan O'Dowda

You may talk of Columbus's sailing
Across the Atlantical Sea
But he never tried to go railing
From Ennis as far as Kilkee
You run for the train in the morning
The excursion train startin' at eight
You're there when the clock gives the warnin'
But there for an hour you will wait

And as you're waiting in the train
You'll hear the guard sing this refrain:

Are ye right there, Michael, are ye right?
Do you think that we'll be home before the night?
Ah you've been so long in startin'
That ye couldn't say for certain
Still ye might now, Michael
So ye might!

They find out where the engine's been hiding
And it drags you to sweet Corofin
Says the guard: "Back her down on the siding
There's a goods from Kilrush coming in."
But perhaps it comes in, in two hours
Perhaps it breaks down on the way
"If it does," says the guard, "be the powers
We're here for the rest of the day!"

And as you sit and curse your luck
The train backs down into a truck.

Are ye right there, Michael, are ye right?
Have ye got the parcel there for Mrs White?
Oh ye haven't, oh begorra
Say it's comin' down tomorra
And it might now, Michael
So it might

At Lahinch the sea shines like a jewel
With joy you are ready to shout
When the stoker cries out: "There's no fuel
And the fire is tay-totally out!
But hand up that bit of a log there
I'll soon have you out of the fix
There's a fine clamp of turf in the bog there
And the rest go a-gatherin' sticks."

And while you're breakin' bits of trees
You hear some wise remarks like these:

"Are ye right there, Michael? Are ye right?
Do ye think that you can get the fire to light?
Oh, an hour you'll require
For the turf it might be drier
And it might now, Michael
So it might."

Kilkee! Oh you never get near it!
You're in luck if the train brings you back
For the permanent way is so queer
It spends most of its time off the track.
Uphill the old engine is climbin'
While the passengers push with a will
You're in luck when you reach Ennistymon
For all the way home is downhill.

And as you're wobblin' through the dark
Ye hear the guard make this remark:

"Are ye right there, Michael, are ye right?
Do you think that you'll be home before it's light?"
"Tis all dependin' whether
The old engine holds together
And it might now, Michael, so it might! (so it might),
And it might, now, Michael, so it might."

Song Details

Clare Station - Dec 1907
Clare Station in rural County Clare

Lyrics: Percy French - 1902. The song was originally called 'Are Ye Right There Michael', but in more modern times the title is often referred to as 'Are You Right There Michael'.

Brief: Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia relating to the song:

Are Ye Right There Michael is a song by the 19th-century and early 20th-century Irish composer and musician Percy French, parodying the state of the West Clare Railway system in rural County Clare. Because of a slow train and the decision of the driver to stop for no apparent reason, French, though having left Sligo in the early morning, arrived so late for an 8pm recital that the audience had left. The ballad caused considerable embarrassment for the rail company, which was mocked in music halls throughout Ireland and Britain because of the song. It led to an unsuccessful libel action against French.

It is said that when French arrived late for the libel hearing, the judge chided him on his lateness. French reportedly responded "Your honour, I traveled by the West Clare Railway", resulting in the case being thrown out... wikipedia.org/wiki/Are_Ye_Right_There_Michael

Category: Irish Folk Song

Columbus - Italian navigator who discovered the New World in the service of Spain while looking for a route to China (1451-1506)
Ennis - a town in the West Republic of Ireland, county town of County Clare.
Kilkee - small coastal town in County Clare, Ireland - located midway between Kilrush and  Doonbeg.
Corofin - a village on the River Fergus in northern County Clare, Ireland.
Kilrush - a coastal town in County Clare, Ireland - located near the mouth of the River Shannon in the south-west of the county.
begorra - Irish euphemism for 'by God'
tomorra - slang for tomorrow.
Lahinch - a village on Liscannor Bay, on the northwest coast of County Clare, Ireland.
Ennistymon - a country market town in County Clare, near the west coast of Ireland.

Covers: Brendan O'Dowda (featured), Willie Brady, Sam Hughes, Pat Kane, Brendan Moriarity and Phillip Byrne, John Roche, Irish Tenors.

Album: Are You Right There Michael is featured on the album - The Immortal Percy French (Jan 1, 1958 )

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