What are the lyrics to the Irish song ‘Molly Malone’?

'Molly Malone' is a famous Irish song that many of us remember from childhood, but who was Molly Malone? And what are its lyrics?

What are the lyrics to the Irish song 'Molly Malone'?

When was ‘Molly Malone’ written’?

Also known as ‘Cockles and Muscles’ and ‘In Dublin Fair City’ ‘Molly Malone’ is a popular Irish song that was first published in 1876  in Boston, Massachusetts. It tells the story of a fictitious fishwife who pedalled her wares in Dublin before dying of a fever. Although its origin is unknown it could well have been adapted from two earlier songs that featured a character named Molly Malone, ‘Widow Malone,’ and ‘Meet Me Miss Molly Malone’.

Advertisement

Was Molly Malone a real person?

There is no evidence that Molly Malone was a real person and at the time Molly was used as an abbreviation/alternative for  Mary and Margaret and Malone has been a popular surname for centuries in Ireland. However in 1988 the Dublin Millennium Commission approved claims made for a Mary Malone, who died on 13 June 1699, to be recognised as the song’s protagonist.  Today in Dublin the 13 June is now known as  ‘Molly Malone Day’.

Advertisement

Did you know?

Artists who have recorded versions of ‘Molly Malone’ include The Dubliners, Heino, Danny Kaye, Pete Seeger,[Sinéad O’Connor, Johnny Logan, and U2.

What are the lyrics to  ‘Molly Malone’ (also known ‘In Dublin’s Fair City’ and ‘Cockles and Muscles’?

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 wheel’d their barrow
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!”
(chorus) ×2