Poetry in Pavements


May 1954: Yvonne Voigt Molloy, John Molloy, Christopher Fitz-Simon and other members of the Trinity Players head off on a University Tour that included Oxford University

How It’s New York: Honor Molloy is a New York writer and a regular partner in crime at the Irish American Writers and Artists Salon.

How It’s Irish: Amemory of Christmas in Dublin, and of her father the actor John Molloy.
Honor Molloy remembers the fun of poetry, buskers and theatrical parents, and John Molloy’s Dublin
I grew up in a house filled with music and jokes and song. A robust language rang off the walls as the family freely quoted Synge, O’Casey, Shakespeare, or Bubbles, one of the Dublin characters my father, John Molloy, collected. Both of my parents were theatre artists dedicated to preserving a Dublin vernacular that split a two-syllable word into ten, giving it a hundred new meanings. Back in the 60s, there was a lively poetry to be heard on the streets and in the markets that was rapidly fading. So, the two of them took material straight from the mouths of the Moore Street dealers, buskers, down-and-outers with extraordinary language and stories.
My mother, Yvonne Voigt Molloy, listened in while propped up in bed in the Rotunda after the latest baby, over coffee in Bewley’s on Grafton Street, or she wandered through the market stalls pretending to check off items when she was really scribbling on the back of her shopping list. Earwigging, she called it. She typed these notes into short scripts which aired on Radio Eireann. These pieces focused on women’s lives, domestic scenes, and are a fascinating glimpse into common-day Irish experiences from that time.
On the other hand, my father drank with, lived with, mucked about with his characters. He wholly absorbed these eccentrics and mimicked them perfectly–performing them onstage and on RTÉ.
I spent the past thirteen years writing a novel about this vanished Dublin–drawing from my mother’s journals and radio scripts, as well as John Molloy’s recordings and his memoir Alive, alive-oh!.  While I was compiling my thoughts for this blog post, I discovered RTE TV50, a year-long celebration of 50 years of Irish life across RTÉ Television, Radio and rté.ie. It is thrilling to discover that a collection of my father’s portraits–John Molloy’s Dublin–which was first broadcast on July 16, 1976  aired as part RTÉ TV50 early in the New Year.  (editor’s note:   watch it HERE).

In the meantime, here’s a holiday story from Moore Street – Christmas Eve – 1966
Sixpence the Stars is culled from All the Stars for Sixpence, one of Yvonne Molloy’s radio pieces. 
Honor Molloy‘s autobiographical novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage will publish on St. Patrick’s day 2012 (GemmaMedia Paperback Original / Simon & Schuster Audiobooks)
John Molloy’s Dublin was re-transmitted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 on RTE 1 at 8:30pm.

About the Author