• Cyril McAree

Statue Comes ‘Alive Alive O’ As Molly Malone Speaks Out


Molly Malone’s voice will echo over the streets of Dublin as the Molly Malone statue on Suffolk Street becomes the latest addition to the Fáilte Ireland Talking Statues initiative for Dublin. The statue will be given a voice by US student, Michaela McMahon who won an open public competition to pen the words spoken by the Molly Malone statue, with her winning script subsequently narrated by actress and singer, Maria Doyle Kennedy.

This is the latest development of the Dublin’s Talking Statues project, an initiative of Fáilte Ireland, supported by Dublin City Council and in conjunction with Arts Producers Sing London, with the assistance of The Abbey Theatre, the OPW, The National Gallery, The GPO & Trinity College.

Michaela McMahon today returned from America to attend the launch of the Molly Malone Talking Statue. Michaela is a student, who is currently studying for dual degrees in English Literature and Cultural and Historic Preservation, (with a minor in Creative Writing), and had just completed a semester at University College Cork as an exchange student when she won the competition.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring said:

“Molly Malone is part of the fabric of the city and one of our most iconic historical figures. Her struggles, hardships and endurance are world-renowned and now, for the first time in over 300 years’, Dubliner’s and visitors alike will once again hear her voice ring through the streets of Dublin. The Molly Malone statue was one of our original “moving statues” – now she is one of our first “talking statues”.

Speaking at the launch, Mark Rowlette, Manager of Dublin at Fáilte Ireland said:

“Last March we ran a competition in conjunction with the Abbey Theatre to let the public decide what Molly Malone would say from her perch in Dublin as she surveys the city and it’s people and see’s the changes which have occurred over the last 300 years. I think it’s wonderful that an Irish-American student in Ireland to study for a few months, could capture so perfectly a sense of Molly Malone and what she means to Dublin and its people. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world visit the statue each year. Now we have brought Molly to life.”

Talking Statues competition winner Michaela McMahon, said:

“I had to try and solve different challenges with this project; how do you write from the perspective of a figure who is more of an amalgamation or symbol, and how do you do that in a way that catches the attention of the public? I thought that it would be an interesting piece to try and create. Most of the other statues involved in the project are commemorations of real people, which means that there is a wealth of information to draw upon. Molly, on the other hand, is more of a symbol. I had no idea what I thought she would say, and that was what really grabbed my attention. I was attracted to the originality of the project and the creative challenge it presented. The song “Molly Malone” is really the only time that we picture her, so I tried to make her character a little more defined for people, to make her more than the girl in the song.”

Colette Hiller, CEO with Sing London said: We have produced Talking Statues in Chicago, London, Leeds and Manchester and in each city we include a public writing competition, but the response from Dublin’s budding writers has been unprecedented. With 150 high quality submissions, people of all ages took part. Why did this statue engender such a good response? Perhaps because Molly is a popular folk heroine steeped in mystery or maybe because Dublin is such a literary city.”

Find out more about the project at www.talkingstatuesdublin.ie


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