Molly Malone

7 Apr

            Hearing the song about her multiple times and passing the statue of Grafton Street, I couldn’t help but wonder who Molly Malone really was. Looking up the history I found that the song about Molly Malone is about a fictional story of a beautiful fishmonger girl who piled her trade in Dublin. However, she died young of a fever. Then in the late 20th century the story claimed that there was a historical Molly Malone. It was said that she lived during the 17th century, and is often portrayed as a hawker by day and a prostitute by night. However, there is not evidence that the song about this young girl is about a living person. The name Molly actually originated from Mary and Margaret, which were both popular at the time. There have been many girls named Molly Malone born over the centuries, but none of them can be directly connected to the girl in the song. Although nothing could connect these girls to the events described in the song, the Dublin Millennium Commission endorsed claims in 1988 about a Mary Malone who died on June 13, 1699, and proclaimed the 13th of June to be “Molly Malone day”.

            The song was not recorded any earlier than 1883, when it was published in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was also published in 1884 by Francis Brothers and Day in London, and written and composed by James Yorkston, of Edinburgh, with music that was arranged by Edmund Forman. The London edition states that it was reprinted with Kohler and Son of Edinburgh’s permission. This implied that the first edition was in Scotland, but there have not been any copies of it located. Siobhán Marie Kilfeather states that the song is from the music hall, a type of theatrical entertainment that was popular between 1850 and 1960 in Britain. She believed that the story of the historical Molly was nothing but nonsense.Image


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