Are Ye Right There Michael… are ye right?

Corofin Railway Station - County Clare, Ireland

Corofin Railway Station – County Clare, Ireland

Come take a little trip with me  through the West of County Clare, Ireland… the Homeland of my Great Great Grand-mother Susan Kelleher, to the accompaniment of Percy French’s rollicking tune; Are Ye Right There Michael… are ye right?

~~~~~~~~

Why not sing along?…

 

“Are Ye Right There Michael”
by Percy French (1902)

Ennis, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia
Ennis, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

 

“You may talk of Columbus’s sailing,
Across the Atlantic 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!

Corofin, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia
Corofin, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

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

Kilrush, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

Kilrush, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

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!

Lahinch, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

Lahinch, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

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, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia
Kilkee, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

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.

Ennistymon Waterfall, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

Ennistymon Waterfall, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

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!”

~~~~~~~~~

 Thanks to  http://www.kinglaoghaire.com/site/lyrics/song_12.html  for the lyrics as well as the following information:

Percy French 1854-1920

Percy French 1854-1920

The Clare County Library writes: “In 1898 Percy French sued the directors of the West Clare Railway Company for “loss of earnings” when he and his troupe of entertainers were late for a performance in Moores Hall, Kilkee. He had advertised a concert for 8 p.m. on the evening of 10th August 1896, in Kilkee. He left Dublin that morning and arrived in Ennis on time for the 12.30 train which was due to reach Kilkee at 3.30p.m. The train slowed up approaching Miltown Malbay and when it got to the station there did not go any further. Five hours elapsed before a replacement train arrived and as a result he did not get to the hall in Kilkee until 8.20 p.m. His magic lantern, which was with his luggage, did not arrive until 9.00.

When he reached the hall most of the audience had gone home and the receipts were only £3 instead of the usual £14. A railway company official explained that when the engine took on water at Ennistymon weeds got into the boiler. This became apparent after a few miles and by the time Miltown Malbay was reached the driver decided to put out the fire because of the possibility of an explosion. No further progress was possible and a replacement engine was requested.

French was awarded £10 expenses. The Railway Company appealed but the award stood. The incident led to the song Are ye right there Michael? which became one of the most popular numbers in his repertoire.

~~~~~~~~~

Thankyou to the Clare County Library for the photo at the top of this page. To view many more wonderful photos of the  engines and railway stations of the West Clare Railway Line, held by the Library, please click HERE

For further information on Percy French just click on the following link: :  http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/people/percy.htm

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

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5 thoughts on “Are Ye Right There Michael… are ye right?

    • Oh Sheryl, my daughter Kirrily and I were there in 1994 and this is exactly the way these towns looked then. Sure “tugged at my heartstrings” and reached into my very soul.

    • Glad you enjoyed it too Pauleen and felt the connectedness. It’s such a fun song and took me right back to my Susan’s “neck of the woods”,between Corofin and the West Clare Railway Line, which was built some 30+ years after she was forced to emigrate in the aftermath of “the Famine”. I find that amazing.

  1. Re; Corofin Train Station.
    My father, Patrick Malone, grew up in this house. His father, Michael Malone, was the station master. The house has been restored and is still lived in today. I’ve been in it! My Dad gave his father’s train cap to the couple that lived there. This was around 2005.
    N. Malone

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