Are Ye Right There Michael

Are Ye Right There Michael

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 while "en route", French, though having left Sligo in the early morning, arrived so late for an 8 PM recital, which he was due to give, that the audience had left. The ballad caused considerable embarrassment for the rail company, who were mocked in music halls throughout the Ireland and Britain because of the song. It led to an unsuccessful libel action against French.

It is said that French arrived late for the libel hearing at the court, and when questioned by the judge on his lateness, he responded "Your honour, I travelled by the West Clare Railway", resulting in the case being thrown out.


:"Are Ye Right There Michael" by Percy French (1902)

: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 starting at eight.:You're there when the guard gives the warning,:And there for an hour you'll wait.

:And while 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?:Ye'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 comin' in.:Perhaps it comes 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 while 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?:Ye haven't, oh begorra,:Say it's comin' down tomorra -:And well 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 teetotally out.:But hand up that bit of a log there -:I'll soon have ye out of the fix;:There's fine clamp of turf in the bog there.:And the rest can go gatherin' sticks

:And while you're breakin' bits off 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,:Well it might now, Michael,:So it might!

:Kilkee! Oh, ye'll 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 oul' engine is climbing,:As the passengers push with a will.:You're in luck when you reach Ennistimon,:For all the way home is downhill.

:And as you're wobbling through the dark,:You'll hear someone make this remark:

:Are ye right there, Michael? Are ye right?:Do you think that we'll be there before it's light?:Oh, it's all depending whether,:The oul' engine holds together,:But it might now, Michael,:So it might!

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