MOLLY MALONE IS VERY POPULAR
Image by infomatique
"Molly Malone" (also known as "Cockles and Mussels") is a popular song which has acquired the status of an Irish anthem. It has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin City in Ireland. The song is sung by supporters of Dublin GAA, Leinster Rugby teams and Irish international rugby team, and tells the tale of a beautiful fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin, but died young, of a fever.
Statue of Molly on Grafton Street
Molly is commemorated in a statue designed by Jeanne Rynhart , placed at the bottom of Grafton Street in Dublin, erected to celebrate the city’s first millennium in 1987; this statue is known colloquially as ‘The Tart With The Cart’, ‘The Dish With The Fish’ and ‘The Trollop With The Scallops’. The statue portrays Molly as a busty young woman in seventeenth-century dress, and is claimed to represent the real person on whom the song is based. Her low-cut dress and large breasts were justified on the grounds that as ‘women breast-fed publicly in Molly’s time, breasts were popped out all over the place’.
An urban legend has grown up around the figure of the historical Molly, who has been presented variously as a hawker by day and part-time prostitute by night, or – in contrast – as one of the few chaste female street-hawkers of her day.
However, there is no evidence that the song is based on a real woman who lived in the 17th century, or at any other time, despite claims that records of her birth and death have been located.
The name "Molly" originated as a familiar version of the names Mary and Margaret. While many such "Molly" Malones were born in Dublin over the centuries, no evidence connects any of them to the events in the song, which was not recorded earlier than the early 1880s, when it was published as a work written and composed by James Yorkston, of Edinburgh. The song is in a familiar tragi-comic mode popular in this period, probably influenced by earlier songs with a similar theme, such as Percy Montross’s "My Darling Clementine", which was written circa 1880.