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The Enchanting Story Behind Dublin Characters: Maggie With The Crucifix

By fiodhna_hm

December 20, 2016 at 12:10am


"BRIDES OF SATAN! BRIDES OF SATAN!" This was famously shouted by 'Maggie with the Crucifix' at a group of passing nuns back in the 1980s. The startled nuns ran down O'Connell Street with their gowns and habits billowing in the wind – and Maggie ran after them. Now, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was odd that someone who was dripping in Christian paraphernalia, who regularly spouted biblical quotes, would be so adverse to these ladies of the Lord; but she was known for her undying hatred of them. As severe as she may have looked and sounded, many people remember her as an older lady, albeit a little eccentric, who loved having the chats and dishing out advice.

"Four Characters" by Oh Hey Friend

According to a few commentators on Rare Irish Stuff's photos of Maggie, she bestowed upon herself the duty of 'mitching watch', where she'd keep an eye out for local kids who were skipping school. If she caught you, she'd run after you and whack you with her gigantic, tricolour-wrapped crucifix. The stories of her are all quite light-hearted, though, and people seemed to enjoy getting chased or witnessing her street antics.


"Maggie" by Colm Mac Athlaoich

It looks as though she passed away in the early '00s, but it has been quite difficult to dig up credible information on Maggie. Even a surname has proven hard to get hold of. Trawling through comments on Facebook pages dedicated to the 'rare auld times of Dublin' revealed that people couldn't even decide if she was 'Mad Mary' or 'Mad Maggie'. This is an interesting talking point that my friend (and fantastic writer) Roisin Kilberd raised; the female characters of Dublin usually had 'Mad' preceding their name whereas the men were usually glorified with theirs: 'Bang Bang', 'Forty Coats', 'Dice Man' etc. I think it's unfair on the ladies, so I have chosen to stick with referencing them as 'Dancing Mary' and 'Maggie with the Crucifix'. They deserve just as much glory and respect as the men.

Come and delve into the world of four of Dublin's most colourful characters at Four Characters. You'll even be able to buy a work of art, inspired by Maggie and friends, from a selection of brilliant, Dublin-based artists.


"Maggie" by Wally Cassidy Photography


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