Tuesday 22 October 2019

Flashback: The dramatic unveiling of the ‘Floozy in the Jacuzzi’

The Anna Livia Statue which was unveiled in Dublin's O'Connell St, 17th June 1988
The Anna Livia Statue which was unveiled in Dublin's O'Connell St, 17th June 1988

What to get a city for its 1000th birthday?

Businessman Michael Smurfit settled for a £250,000 bronze monument in the heart of Dublin to commemorate the city’s 1000th year. The Anna Livia monument was commissioned by Smurfit and dedicated to his father Jefferson Smurfit Senior.

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Michael Smurfit, who donated the Anna Livia Statue on behalf of the Smurfit family to the people of Dublin, pictured with the Lord Mayor, Carmencita Hederman

It was created by sculptor Eamonn O’Doherty and named after a character in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, Anna Livia Plurabelle, the human embodiment of the River Liffey.

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Eileen Moroney from Kilbarrack paddles in the Anna Livia Statue

The statue caused quite a stir with Dubliners, not least for its prominent position in the heart of O’Connell Street. The reclining figure was positioned beneath a fountain, earning her the memorable nickname ‘The Floozy in the Jacuzzi’. The statue was unveiled on June 17th, 1988, but the event was dramatised by a group of anti-extradition protesters who swarmed the unveiling before being detained by Garda.

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Gardai remove one of the protesters taking part in the anti-extradition protest

Smurfit was joined by Dublin Mayor Carmencita Hederman in front of a crowd of onlookers. Among them was O’Connell Street’s other famous face Margaret Dunne, otherwise known as The Dancing Lady.

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Mary Margaret Dunne beside the Anna Livia statue

Anna Livia became a focal point of O’Connell Street over the years, until she was removed in 2001 to make way for the regeneration of the area. The statue was kept in storage for ten years until a new home was found in Croppies Memorial Park, beside the River Liffey.

Her second unveiling caused almost as much as a stir as the first did, with the statue being floated down the length of the River until it reached the Guinness Brewery. From there it was lifted by a truck and taken to what is hopefully its final resting place, overlooking the river that inspired its creation.

If you want to see more images like this, explore our galleries at Independent Archives

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