For some time now, some of my on-line friends have advised me to provide a version of CassidySlangScam without the invective aimed at Cassidy and his supporters. In response to that advice, I am working on providing a glossary of the terms in Cassidy’s ludicrous book How The Irish Invented Slang with a short, simple and business-like explanation of why Cassidy’s version is wrong.
While Cassidy’s suggestion of moll óir is much better than his usual standard (at least the phrase could exist and doesn’t infringe any grammatical rules) there is precious little evidence of anyone, anywhere using this phrase. On Google, the one example I found was in relation to a taped interview with a native Irish speaker from Donegal. In a description of the contents of the audio, it talks about someone finding a pile of gold (moll óir) under a flagstone. However, listening to the actual audio, the phrase isn’t mentioned.
There are numerous theories about the origins of the word moolah, which first appears in America in the 1930s. The strongest suggestion is perhaps the Spanish phrase (especially associated with Venezuela) bájate de la mula, which literally means ‘get down off the mule’ and figuratively means ‘give me the money!’ Mula sounds exactly like moolah. (However, there are problems with this and it is not proven that the Spanish phrase dates back before the first occurrences of moola in English, which is certainly a serious problem.)
Moll óir, on the other hand, sounds like ‘moll oar’. In other words, it sounds absolutely nothing like moolah.