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Among My Souvenirs

Stories of the road

Molly Malone

In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls as so pretty, I first set me eyes on sweet Molly Malone. Dublin certainly is a “fair city” and dear Molly plays a prominent role, although she never really lived! According to historians, she was part of a genre of music that also gave us tunes such as, My Darlin Clementine, where the heroine of the story dies in the end. Though some would like to claim that she, in fact, was a real person, there is no such evidence. Yet, the song Molly Malone or Cockles and Mussels or In Dublin’s Fair City is so popular that it has become the unofficial anthem of the city of Dublin.

In 1988, this statue was presented to the city by Jury’s Hotel Group to mark the millennium of the city. Due to the construction of the underground rail system, the statue was moved from Grafton Street, the heart of the shopping district and in the 19th century, known as the center for prostitution. She now lives on Suffolk Street in front of the Tourist Information Office. Molly, it is said, is a lucky charm. When you groped her bosom, she would bring you luck. After all these years of “handsy” the bronze has been rubbed off poor Molly’s bosom!

The song tells the fictional tale of a fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin, but who died young, of a fever. She is typically represented as a hawker (peddler)by day and part-time prostitute by night.

Everybody sing along!

In Dublin's fair city,

Where the girls are so pretty,

I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,

As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

"Alive, alive, oh,

Alive, alive, oh,"

Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".

She was a fishmonger

But sure 'twas no wonder

For so were her father and mother before

And they each wheel'd their barrow

Through streets broad and narrow

Crying "Cockles and mussels alive, alive oh!"

(chorus)

She died of a fever,

And no one could save her,

And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.

But her ghost wheels her barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

(chorus) ×2