Henry's Songbook

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The Molly Maguires

  • (Phil Coulter)

       Make way for the Molly Maguires
       They're drinkers, they're liars but they're men
       Make way for the Molly Maguires
       You'll never see the likes of them again

    Down the mines no sunlight shines
    Those pits they're black as hell
    In mud and slime they do their time
    It's Paddy's prison cell
    And they curse the day they travelled far
    And drown their tears with a jar

    Backs will break and muscles ache
    Down there there's no time to dream
    Of fields and farms, a woman's arms
    Just dig that bloody seam
    Though they break their bodies underground
    Who dare to push them around

    (as sung by The Dubliners)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1964:] Bis zum Jahre 1878 brachen die [Detektive] Pinkertons die Macht einer der mörderischsten Geheimgesellschaften Pennsylvaniens, der irischen Molly Maguires. Unter dem Einfluß dieser Gesellschaft war aus sozialen Kämpfen im Kohlengebiet von Pennsylvanien die blutige Gewaltherrschaft einzelner entstanden. (Jürgen Thorwald, Das Jahrhundert der Detektive 124)

  • [1982:] [We have] several reports - factual news reports, as well as 'folk narratives' - that men dressed as women took part in episodes of resistance. One hesitates to believe that the heroes of Bajadoz or Waterloo, or their relatives, would dress themselves in women's attire because they lacked 'civil courage'. In Ireland the 'Molly Maguires' were the most belligerent of transvestites. Was this an example of military camouflage, the better to do down the aggressor? (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 253)

  • [1997:] Irish secret society organised to do battle against the exploitative mineowners [during] labour unrest in the Pennsylvanian coalfields of the 1870s [...]. (Observer, 11 May)

  • [1996:] A Pinkerton man, James McParland was responsible for breaking up the infamous Molly Maguires, a secret society begun ostensibly to assist Irish miners but which quickly deteriorated into an elitist organised crime syndicate. Posing as James McKenna he wormed his way into the "Mollies" and for three years passed information to his boss. On danger of his life he gave evidence in 1877 which convicted 20 ringleaders. (Carol Foreman, Did You Know?, Glasgow City Libraries and Archives, Glasgow, p 40)


  • Further information cf. "Making sense of the Molly Maguires" by Kevin Kenny(?); Arthur H. Lewis "Lament for the Molly Maguires"(?); Donald L. Miller & Richard Sharpless: The Kingdom Of Coal. Work, Enterprise, and Ethnic Communities in the Mine Fields, U of PA Press, 1985 (ISBN 0-8122-7991-3); George Korson, 'Minstrels of the Mine Patch' has a section on the Molly Maguires; 'Coal Dust on the Fiddle',

Quelle: Ireland

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aktualisiert am 28.05.2002