The character and wit of Dublin’s street traders was legendary, none more so than Molly Malone.
‘In Dublin’s Fair City, where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone’ is the opening line of the song about an iconic character in the history of this city of characters. Molly Malone lived in Dublin city centre during the 1600’s. According to the song she sold cockles and mussels from her wheelbarrow in Dublin’s city centre by day. By night she is said to have plied a second trade suggested by the nickname the Tart with the Cart. She died of a fever, thought to be cholera in 1699.
Although there is no evidence of the true identity of Molly Malone, the song in which she is remembered has become an anthem for Dublin and its sports teams. She is also remembered by a life size statue depicting her pushing her cart down Grafton Street, her revealing neckline suggesting her other occupation. The statue of Molly Malone was unveiled during the celebration of Dublin’s Millennium in 1988. Since then she has proved very popular as a tourist attraction.
Many of Dublin’s statues are being put into storage during the works on the new tram/Luas line to prevent any damage being done to them, but due to the popularity of the Molly Malone statue, she will be wheeling her barrow from Grafton Street to a new location in Dublin. She will return to her original place when the works are complete.