Molly Malone Statue - History and Facts | History Hit

Molly Malone Statue

Dublin, Ireland

Image Credit: Ana Candida / Shutterstock

About Molly Malone Statue

The bronze statue of Molly Malone on Suffolk Street, Dublin, Ireland remains a popular pilgrimage site for fans of Irish culture and literature.

History of the Molly Malone Statue

The statue was commissioned for 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations: simultaneously the then Mayor declared 13 June to be Molly Malone Day.

So, who is the famous Molly Malone, and why does she have a statue?

Molly is the main character of a song: the first verse goes:

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!”

The first known publication was in late 19th century Boston, but supposedly it is based on the life of a 17th century fishwife: whether or not there’s any truth to this remains unclear. Versions of the song have been covered by a range of Irish musicians including U2, Sinead O’Connor and the Dubliners.

Molly Malone today

The statue of Molly Malone added further credibility to the legend, as well as recognising its place in cultural and musical lore. Originally the statue was on Grafton Street: dressed in traditional 17th century dress, she’s known colloquially by locals as ‘The Tart with the Cart’ or ‘The Trollop with the Scallops’. The statue’s sexualisation has raised eyebrows and criticism since its creation.

She was moved to her current location in 2014: a recent piece of ‘folklore’ often told to tourists is that rubbing her breasts will bring good luck, and the patches of wear are evident. Dubliners will confirm this has no historical precedent!

Getting to Molly Malone’s Statue

The statue of Molly Malone is located on Suffolk Street, just off Dame Street and a short walk from Grafton Street and Trinity College Dublin. There is a bus stop very close by on Dame Street, or the nearest Luas is a 5 minute walk – head to Trinity or Dawson Street.