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Cockles and Mussels, or Molly Malone

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Molly Malone Statue - The Tart With the Cart

Molly Malone Statue

(c) Chris Jackson / Getty Images, 2009

The Story of Cockles and Mussels and Molly Malone:

"Cockles and Mussels," also called "Molly Malone," is one of the most famous Irish folksongs in existence. Like many folksongs, its origins are unknown but its influence is widespread. This story of a young Dublin fishmonger has firmly entrenched itself into Dublin local lore, despite probably not being based on any truth, and if you're ever in Dublin, make sure to make your way to Grafton Street to see the famously buxom Molly Malone statue.

"Cockles and Mussels" Lyrics:

In Dublin's fair city where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheels her wheelbarrow
Through the streets broad and narrow
Crying, "Cockles and Mussels alive alive O!
Alive alive O! Alive alive O!"
Crying, "Cockles and Mussles alive alive O!"

She was a fishmonger but sure 'twas no wonder
For so were her father and mother before
And they both wheeled their barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying, "Cockles and Mussels alive alive O!
Alive alive O! Alive alive O!"
Crying, "Cockles and Mussles alive alive O!"

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 O!
Alive alive O! Alive alive O!"
Crying, "Cockles and Mussles alive alive O!"

Great Versions of Molly Malone

The Dubliners - Listen/Download
Pete Seeger - Listen/Download
Barnbrack & Barnbrack - Listen/Download

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