Dublin Mythbusters

by Sean Sheehan, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 20th 2010 04:20 PM

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Dublin Mythbusters

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The city of Dublin has a long history and many Dublin urban myths and legends have evolved. The actual facts behind some of these stories will prove to be Dublin mythbusters.


1. Molly Malone was a real person.


FALSE: The most famous urban legend of all is the fair creature known as Molly Malone, who apparently walked the city streets at some unspecified time selling seafood from a barrel. Her tragic tale ended in her sudden death, possibly from eating contaminated cockles or mussels, while still young and beautiful. The city is so proud of its "former citizen" that when it celebrated its millennium in 1988, it erected a nubile bronze statue at the top of Grafton Street in tribute to the lady.

Sadly, this is a Dublin urban legend. Dublin mythbusters have shown that it is extremely unlikely that such a person ever existed, even though one of the churches turned up a baptism record for a Mary Malone, and claims were made that her gravesite was in a churchyard now somewhere under the Dublin Civic Offices. In fact, analysis of the song suggests that it dates back only to late Victorian music hall times and may not even have been written by an Irishman. Shed no more tears for the sad demise.


2. Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, MD, one of Brazil's most famous footballers, lived and studied in Dublin and tried out for the University football team. He didn't make the grade.


FALSE: The story that he spent part of his medical training at University College Dublin has been reported in many respectable newspapers over the decades. Sadly for UCD it is a Dublin urban myth. The man never even visited Ireland. By his own admission that he never travelled here, he becomes another case for Dublin mythbusters.


3. Posh and Becks made a profit from their £500,000 Dublin wedding.


TRUE: A Dublin urban legend tells that when Britain's most newsworthy couple, David and Victoria Beckham, married in 1999 they chose to do so in an exclusive castle on the outskirts of Dublin. Among the hundreds of guests were members of the Manchester United football team and the other Spice Girls. Elton John flew in to perform, and there was a full orchestra as well. The whole shebang is said to have cost £500,000 and, yes, they did make a profit because they sold the exclusive reporting and photography rights to a famous glossy magazine. Not many people make a profit on a wedding!


4. They paid off another couple to get the venue.


FALSE: A secondary urban myth doing the rounds at the time of their wedding was that they paid the couple who had already booked the castle £70,000, enough to pay off their mortgage, to choose another date. Not true – myth busted!


5. Guinness tastes better in Dublin than anywhere else in the world.


TRUE: Any Dubliner will tell you this fact and can even give you some sensible reasons for justifying the urban legend. Reasons for this include: 1. There are fewer preservatives added because it has less distance to travel before it is served; and, 2. So many people drink Guinness in Dublin that the turnover rate is much higher than anywhere else, so the beer has a shorter shelf life and is served fresher.


6. Guinness brewed in Ireland is made from Liffey water.


FALSE: The oldest Dublin myth of all is now busted. It once was, but no longer is!


7. The MGM lion, seen at the start of MGM movies, was born in Dublin zoo.


TRUE: His name was Cairbre (although MGM calls him "Leo") and he was born at the Dublin Zoo in 1927. This sounds like a Dublin urban myth, but is actually true.

Dublin Zoo
Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
+ 353 (0)1 474 890
http://www.dublinzoo.ie/
Hours and prices vary


8. The Union Jack flew for the first time in Dublin, not England.


TRUE: This Dublin urban legend, strangely, is true. The Union Jack was created to mark the Act of Union of 1801, which united (not with the consent of many Irish people) the two countries and was flown for the first time ever on January 1 in Dublin.


9. The last resting place of the bones of St. Valentine is in Dublin.


UNKNOWN. We don't know for sure! The patron saint of lovers, whose day is celebrated every February 14, is an ambiguous figure. There are three possible actual human beings whom may have become St. Valentine, and several places lay claim to the remains. One is St Francis' church in Glasgow; another is the Carmelite church on Whitefriar Street in Dublin. This church has a letter from a 19th century pope to back up their claim. Since we don't know of any descendants, we can't CSI the Dublin remains. So the legend of St. Valentine in Dublin will have to remain an urban myth.
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