We first met Molly in Pavee Point, Dublin, a Traveller community centre, where she enjoys spending her time with other travellers and getting involved in activities. Molly is from a family of tinkers and she was one of 10 girls and 3 boys, growing up around County Longford. Molly herself, has 8 daughters and 2 sons of her own. Through this meeting with Molly we discussed the songs she sings and used to sing and her memories of them. Molly said she has strong memories of singing with her sister, who knows a lot of the old songs. Together they would sing songs such as ‘Lady In Her Father’s Garden’. In her family it was mostly her brothers and sisters who sang the old songs, however she does have some memories of her mother singing too. One such memory she recalled was of her mother singing ‘Going To Mass Last Sunday’ around the campfire. In the past, Molly would often sing songs such as ‘Skibbereen’ around the campfire or at the campsites ‘under the stars and moonlight’, but says this is no longer possible. Molly also shared memories of singing in pubs with other travellers, with separate groups of men and women singing their own songs.
Today Molly will often sing alone, and songs come to her most easily when sweeping or doing other activities around the home. In this session Molly shared some of the old songs, such as ‘Health and Wealth’ which she described as being ‘as old as the hills’. Molly identified how many of these old songs have changed with time. When listening to older recordings she recognised such differences. For example, in Molly’s rendition of ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ she speaks of ‘turks and tryants’, whilst the recording from the 1950s of the same song, refers to ‘the land of tigers’, one case, illustrating wider changes to the traditional songs in the Irish traveller community today.