Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Molly Malone' was written to lampoon Irish, claims expert

Lynne Kelleher

MOLLY Malone was a character invented to send up the Irish, according to a new probe into the roots of the song.

Experts insist there isn't any evidence to prove that Dublin's most famous female ever lived in the capital or that she was a prostitute by night.

And a leading historian has now suggested that the song about a beautiful fishmonger may have been written in Scotland for comic purposes.

Professor Daithi O hOgain, from University College Dublin, believes that the popular folk song, which was written in Edinburgh in 1883 by James Yorkston, was likely to have been penned to lampoon the Irish.

He said: "In the concert halls during the Victorian era, various races were ridiculed to a certain extent. 'Molly Malone' may have been composed in Scotland to mock Irish people and their songs.


"I believe it was a comic song. It was not a tragic story, which was the theme in many Irish ballads."

In the new TG4 series, 'Scealta Atha Cliath', historical author Eoin Bairead agrees that the name Molly Malone was a moniker for a simple Irish girl in the 19th Century.

The programme will be shown on TG4 on Thursday at 10pm.

Irish Independent

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