Whilst in Dublin 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.”* At first she seemed sweet, saccharine even, as she stood there nicely bronzed in the sun selling shellfish by the seashore. We exchanged glances, smiles, and embarrassments before I moved on to check out the city. My hotel was nearby so the next day I couldn’t resist her allure and was drawn to check out her massive cockles. Only to find that she was being guarded by a man acting like an ass.
Or perhaps it was a donkey. Needless to say it was a rather unexpected event to see a man wearing a donkey head sitting by my dear Molly. Reading the Leopardstown Post racing news. Seriously, who would have expected to see that? Everyone knows that donkeys don’t like horse racing.
But here he was for all to see. The man with the donkey head didn’t speak (I suppose donkeys rarely do), nor did he perform anything other than simply sit there for the entire time we stood by to watch and to snap photos. Many others took photos as well and for a donkey-headed man he seemed quite patient to allow all of us to get our fill.
I’ll always remember Molly Malone. And the man in the donkey head.
* From the song that inspired the legend that inspired the statue on Grafton Street, Dublin.
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is due out late July 2017.