Michael Finnegan by The Speks

Michael Finnegan Nursery Rhyme

"Michael Finnegan" is normally sung as a lively polka but on Glasses Island it is sung as a sentimental ballad. The lyrics tell us about “poor old Michael Finnegan” and his misadventures. He has plenty of bad luck and the words make us feel sorry for the poor fellow. We therefore try to create an atmosphere for the song that reflects the bad luck story outlined in the lyrics.

The gentle guitar picking throughout is the foundation of the song's sombre atmosphere. The fiddle, accordion and clarinet sound particularly mournful during the instrumentals. The harmony vocals in round two singing "Poor old Michael Finnegan" further emphasise how sorry we feel for Michael Finnegan.

Click on the play arrow above to listen to our version of Michael Finnegan set to Irish music for kids. Go to our Michael Finnegan page where you can share our nursery rhyme with your friends and/or buy the MP3 download.

Lyrics for Michael Finnegan

There was an old man named Michael Finnegan
He had whiskers on his chinnegan
The wind came along and blew them in again
Poor old Michael Finnegan

There was an old man named Michael Finnegan
He went fishing with a pin again
Caught a fish but it flopped back in again
Poor old Michael Finnegan

There was an old man named Michael Finnegan
He ran a race and tried to win again
He fell down and bumped his shin again
Poor old Michael Finnegan

Classroom Ideas for Michael Finnegan

Music: Explore how different emotions can be evoked through music. Music can sound happy, sad, scary, angry, etc. Classify different pieces of music or songs according to the emotions that are evoked in the listener, e.g. Jingle Bells is a happy song, Gustav Holst's Mars sounds angry and threatening, etc.