“In Dublins fair city, where
the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on
sweet Molly Mallone”
The lyrics above are from the song Molly Malone by the Dubliners, often considered the unofficial hymn of Dublin, which illustrates the life of a young Irish woman named Molly Malone. Experts cannot confirm if Molly was a real person, but her character and tragic life has been articulated over the years through song and story. Her image has also been immortalized on the streets of Dublin by means of a statue located on Grafton Street. So who was this broad and why is her image so deeply embedded into Irish history?
Molly Malone was said to have existed during the 17th century and was a true natural beauty. The daughter of fishmongers, she would wind through Dublin on her route selling “cockles and mussels” amongst other fish. However, it was rumoured that after dark she was a “woman of the night” or a prostitute. Unfortunately this young bell suffered a tragic fate and she was found dead from an unknown type of fever. Malone is a common Irish last name and Molly is often short for Mary or Margaret and thus, the historical figure could have been many women throughout history. However, June 13th 1699 a woman by the name of Molly Malone was documented as dead, so Lord Mayor Ben Briscoe proclaimed June 13th Molly Malone day and had the above mention statue placed on Grafton Street. Now, millions of tourists and locals alike can examine the busty statue of a woman in a low cut dress toting her cart of cockles and mussels to sell. The statue has gained a number of famed nicknames such as the “The Tart with the Cart”, “The Trollop with the Scallops”, and “The Dolly with the Trolley”.
So if you get a chance to travel to the Emerald Isle and are passing through Dublin, checking out the Molly Malone statue is a MUST! It is an interesting part of Irish culture and an experience to remember.