Moving Statues

molly malone

Molly Malone. They moved her! When??

In the time I have been out of the country obviously.

She stood steadfast for many years at the end of Grafton Street, a delineator of the North/South invisible border. A magnet for tourists. A handy meeting point. She was always in the sun, it glinted off the bronze. She shone. A beacon of Irish life and song and culture. ‘The Tart with the Cart.’ Trinity College stood at her back, a perfect juxtaposition of Dublin v Anglo-Ireland. Now, there is an exposed drain where she used to stand and she has been shunted around the corner – to the shade. She’s languishing there. Even the tourists look dreary as they take their obligatory photographs.

Dublin has undergone many changes while I was away. Many of them I notice accidentally or in passing. For example, I didn’t know there was a brand, spanking new library in Dun Laoghaire until I went to a writing event there. It had sprung up in my absence too. Don’t get me started on the LUAS.

But Molly… I haven’t been in town much so I didn’t notice she wasn’t there. Until, one fine, sunny day, poring over how to teach an elementary English class how to give directions without boring them to death, I decided to take them out of the classroom and let them follow some home made maps to find landmarks. Molly wasn’t one of them but I decided we would gather there at the end of class to take a photo after they had located the National Gallery, the Davenport Hotel, the Gingerman Pub and the Dublin Dental Hospital. I left them to it and wandered around until it was time to meet them at the statue. I was stopped in my tracks by the sheer absence of Molly. Where the hell was she? I felt panic flutter in my stomach. Where were my students? And if I couldn’t find her, how would they? Hilariously, I had to stop someone and ask for directions, the very words and instructions I was giving in class! She directed me around the corner to Suffolk Street. Turns out the Tourist Office is gone too.

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