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honours postponed 'Queen Of Moore Street' May Gorman remembered on what would have been her 100th birthday

May was born in number 27 Moore Street in 1921, and started helping her aunt Hennie at the age of seven after her own mother’s death from asthma

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Lavinia Donovan, granddaughter of the late 'Queen of Moore Street' who would have celebrated her 100th birthday. Photo: Mark Condren

Lavinia Donovan, granddaughter of the late 'Queen of Moore Street' who would have celebrated her 100th birthday. Photo: Mark Condren

Lavinia Donovan, granddaughter of the late 'Queen of Moore Street' who would have celebrated her 100th birthday. Photo: Mark Condren

Covid restrictions have curtailed the marking of what would have been the 100th birthday of the former ‘Queen of Moore Street’ May Gorman.

The family of the well-loved street trader had plans to honour her where she had her stall for decades in Dublin’s historic market area, but with social distancing and restrictions on gatherings close family members gathered at her grave today instead.

May was born in number 27 Moore Street in 1921, and started helping her aunt Hennie at the age of seven after her own mother’s death from asthma.

She eventually got her own stall selling fish, becoming the second generation of her family to run a stall on the famous street.

She was crowned the Queen of Moore Street in 2005.

“My nanny worked through hail, rain and snow and she was never off the street. She would go down to the fish market at 4am and she wouldn’t finish work until 5.30pm, and she did that from Tuesdays to Fridays,” said May’s granddaughter Lavinia Donovan.

“She was well known on the street all through the years. She’d be singing and dancing. She was a real character.

“Her aunt Hennie brought her up after her own mother died, and when my own mother died of cancer when I was nine, Nanny brought us up with our father. She taught us everything.

“My mother did some trading on the street in her day, and now I run a stall with my sister Lauren off my nanny’s table, so we’re the fourth generation of our family trading there.

“When I walk onto Moore Street I feel a sense of home, and I can feel Nanny around me,” she added.

Lavinia explained that comedian Brendan O’Carroll interviewed May for more than nine hours before he wrote the Mrs Brown’s Boys movie, and she let him use her table in the film.

“The street trader parts of the film were based on Nanny. She died before it was released but we all went to the premier in the Savoy,” said Lavinia.

May died in June 2013 at the age of 92 having retired three years earlier in 2010.

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On the day of her funeral Moore Street came to a standstill as her coffin was brought past her old pitch one last time, and a respectful round of applause from the traders rang out while an uilleann piper played Molly Malone.

“We were hoping to have a big street party for her, with balloons and musicians. But instead we will gather at her grave,” said Lavinia, who is hoping to eventually have a plaque erected on Moore Street in honour of May.

Lavinia’s daughter Chelsea is following in the family footsteps as a trader, having established a cake baking business.

“She would like to have a stall on Moore Street someday, then she would be the fifth generation of the family doing it,” said Lavinia proudly.

“But Moore Street has changed a lot over the years. There were 101 licence holders before Nanny died, and now there’s just 17. The discount stores are big competition now, and the public don’t look upon it as a joyful street anymore. I like to remember it in my Nanny’s days, when it was a really bustling place,” she added.

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