In Brief

In Circe a combative Edy Boardman quotes a combative unnamed woman: "You never seen me in the mantrap with a married highlander, says I. The likes of her!" The reference is to an infamous spot in Dublin's Monto district where streetwalkers ingeniously picked men's pockets.

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In an oral history documented by Terry Fagan's North Inner City Folklore Project, Mary Foran recalls that "Purdon Street was known as 'The Man Trap' because when they got the men down there, there was no way out." But Fagan, himself a lifetime resident of the area, recounts a much more specific origin of the phrase. In his street tours of the North Inner City, he observes that the man trap was a building on Purdon Street where prostitutes would steal money from men while their pants were down and then flee through a nearby door. Pursuers rushing through the door encountered three more closed doors, any one of which might be the right channel.

JH 2019
Purdon Street in the early 20th century. Source: