Old Irish Myths #317267: The Metrolink


LAST WEEK in WWN’s Old Irish Myths series we covered the famous ‘Ulster Cycle’, this week it’s the turn of the oft mentioned, never seen mythical illusion known as ‘the Metrolink’.

As always we speak to lecturer in folklore, Dr Jennifer Alwin, who has kindly lent us her expertise once more:

“While most great bedtime stories have no basis in fact, what’s curious about the Metrolink is that still to this day many people assert that it is in fact real. This makes it a fascinating myth which stands out from other tales such as the Salmon of Knowledge and what have you,” offers Dr Alwin.

“I think the Metrolink is such a great myth because it lends itself to a nice escape for the reader or the person being told the tale; who doesn’t want to retreat into a world where the 500,000 plus residents of a city can get around locations in a timely fashion thanks to some joined up thinking and sensible long term planning executed by capable people.

“Of course as the fable goes, anyone who says the word ‘Metrolink’ subjects themselves to the instant onset of madness and horrifying senseless visions of this serpentine creature slithering its way from Charlemont to the airport,” continues Dr Alwin.

An earlier version of the myth had the Metrolink extending to Sandyford, but then Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy led opposition to a single road closure in his constituency, scuppering solutions to capacity issues with transport links.

“The afflicted by the visions lose all sense of time and believe the year 2031 is the same as 2002 when the prophecy of the Metrolink materialising was first foretold. In the most haunting version of the myth the public cry tears of Euro into the great stream of the river Taxpayer, which never actually reaches the ocean”.

Dr Alwin also said that in some version of the myth, locals go mad waiting for its arrival, and this part is believed to have influenced Samuel Beckett’s famous play Waiting for Godot which was provisionally titled ‘Waiting for The Dart Underground’.

“Of course in the story the doubters, the unbelievers are harangued by the mythical figure called The Great Bullshitter, he pours scorn on those who are so negative they are blamed for wishing the Metrolink out of existence. The Great Bullshitter has gone by many names in recorded version of the myth including Bertie, Brian, Enda, Leo, Micheál and yet more to come,” concluded Dr Alwin.