“Return of Pat Molloy”


Molloy returns to Dublin after four years in America and is stopped by "a castle-hack" who accuses him of being a Fenian. He is, but he has returned with money to take Molly and his mother to America. He and Molly marry and all move to New York.


Notes to IRPTunney02: "This is a song linked with the Fenian Rising of 1867. Many of the Fenians learned their soldiering in America during the Civil War and then returned to Ireland to fight their own battle."

Broadside LOCSinging as111690, which is longer than Paddy Tunney's version on IRPTunney02, is the basis for the description.

Broadside LOCSinging as111690: H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site.

Broadside LOCSinging as111690 includes the note "Sung, with unbounded applause, by William H. Lindsey."- BS

Most scholars don't seem to link this to Laws Q24, "Pat Malloy," though Laws notes a sequel to that ballad, 'Molly's Welcome to Pat Malloy." But in Laws Q24, we learn that Pat is in love with Molly, that he goes to America, and that he returns home at the end. This is a clear sequel to those events -- possibly a political rewrite, given the mention of the Fenians.

The Fenians were an organization devoted to freeing Ireland. The organization was founded in 1858 by James Stephens, and quickly spread; the British government felt the need to suppress the group in 1865. Stephens and others were taken prisoner; although he escaped, it turned him cautious; he no longer had the nerve to take aggressive action. That pretty well killed the group as an active set of rebels; their attempt at an Irish rebellion failed in 1867. - RBW

Cross references


  • Brigid Tunney, "Wee Paddy Molloy" (on IRTunneyFamily01)
  • Paddy Tunney, "Paddy Molloy" (on IRPTunney02)


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1879 (broadside, LOCSinging as111690)
Found in: Ireland