Molly Malone wasn’t selling shellfish

Do you know the Irish song “Molly Malone”?

It’s very familiar to most Irish people. If you grow up in Dublin you probably learn it in school.

In Dublin’s fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone.
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow,
Through the streets broad and narrow,
Crying “cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”

That’s the opening verse. “Cockles and mussles” are types of shellfish. Cheap food back then for hard working peasants.

To my dirty mind the song has a filthy double meaning. “Cockles and mussels”, sounds like vulgar slang for male and female private parts. Molly is advertising what she has to sell. She’s a prostitute selling herself to men and women.

This might seem like a crackpot theory but take a look at the statue of Molly that the Irish goverment erected in the capital city in her honour. It’s pretty obvious from the statue that she’s no fish monger…

A true Irish hero if you ask me 😉




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