Statue of Molly Malone to be moved

The statue of legendary Dublin street trader Molly Malone is to be moved by the end of this year to make way for the construction of the cross-city Luas tramline, known as the BXD, which will connect the existing Green and Red lines and be operational by 2017.

It is not known yet where the new home will be for the much-photographed bronze statue which has stood at the bottom of Grafton St, opposite Trinity College, since Dublin's millennium celebrations in 1988. However a proposal being tabled by some north-side city councillors in May could see the statue being moved north of the river Liffey to Moore St, to what the councillors say is her "spiritual home" surrounded by present-day street traders.

Indeed there has long been criticism that the statue should never have been placed on Dublin's traditionally more affluent south side, but would have been more appropriate on the working-class north inner city where Dublin street traders still operate.

Popularised in a well-known Dublin ballad, the statue of the buxom young fishmonger is dressed in a 17th-century dress and is known colloquially as "The Tart with the Cart". As for the original “sweet” Molly Malone – sometimes portrayed as a fishmonger by day and prostitute by night – there is no concrete evidence that she ever existed. Despite this, the Dublin Millennium Commission endorsed claims in 1988 concerning a certain Mary "Molly" Malone who died "of the fever" on 13 June 1699, and proclaimed 13 June to be "Molly Malone Day".

Below are the lyrics to the popular song, long associated with Dublin’s Gaelic football team and more recently known as the anthem of the Leinster rugby team.

“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!"

"Alive, alive, oh,

Alive, alive, oh",

Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".

She was a fishmonger,

But sure 'twas no wonder,

For so were her father and mother before,

And they each wheeled their barrows,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

(chorus)

She died of a fever,

And no one could save her,

And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.

But her ghost wheels her barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"