independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Dubliners re-Joyce at return of the Floozie

Workmen welcome the Anna Livia statue to her new home. Photo: Tom Burke

SHE'S not been seen around town for a decade. But yesterday the 'Floozie in the Jacuzzi' was spotted floating gently up the Liffey in a barge, to the surprise and delight of Dubliners who watched her progress from the banks of the river.

The bronze statue of Anna Livia -- the young woman with long flowing hair who once had a watery home in the centre of O'Connell Street -- made a slow, stately journey from Grand Canal Dock to her new home at the Croppies Memorial Park near Heuston Station.

It's been 10 years since Dubliners have clapped eyes on the controversial 18ft-long monument, commissioned in 1988 to mark the city's millennium year by millionaire Michael Smurfit and created by sculptor Eamonn O'Doherty.

She was inspired by James Joyce's character of Anna Livia Plurabelle, who features in 'Finnegans Wake' as a personification of the River Liffey, but more prosaic city-dwellers soon nicknamed her the 'Floozie in the Jacuzzi'.

While undoubtedly beautiful, the sculpture's unfortunate positioning in a fast-flowing fountain at the heart of the capital's main thoroughfare proved troublesome and the monument soon became a focal point for 'undesirables'. She was removed in 2001 and has spent the past decade hidden away in a crate in a yard at St Anne's Park in Raheny until this week when she took up residence in her new Dublin 7 home.

George McDonnell (50), who works at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, rushed down to the quays to see Anna Livia's return.

"I think it's great. I remember her being put in the middle of O'Connell Street in the 80s. I miss her. She was a great focal point, far better than the Spire," he said.

John Murray, a Sea Safari crew member who helped commandeer the barge, said she caused quite a stir as she made her final journey up the river.

"People were asking where she's going, what she's been doing since she left the city centre. They all remember her as the 'Floozie in the Jacuzzi'.

"A lot of people are pointing and stopping their cars and asking what's she doing now," he said.

After making her river journey as far up as Victoria Quay across from the Guinness brewery site, she was loaded on to a truck and driven to the public park opposite the Ashling Hotel.

She is being placed in a purpose-built pond in accordance with the sculptor's wishes -- he insisted she be located near the Liffey and in water.

Mr O'Doherty also made some adjustments -- she is now in a more reclining position to better suit her new location.

Council workers are putting the finishing touches to the new monument and the council will host a launch ceremony when the statue officially opens to the public next month.

Irish Independent

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