Northern Ireland

Dublin's Floozy in the Jacuzzi returns to the city

Statue of an elongated woman lying in an artificial waterfall display
Image caption The Floozy in the Jacuzzi before her big move

At a time when many are leaving Dublin to find work and a new life elsewhere, one famous resident has returned to the city after a 10-year absence.

The statue of Anna Livia Plurabelle, perhaps better known as the Floozy in the Jacuzzi, caused a stir among Dubliners as she was floated up the River Liffey on Thursday on the way to her new residence.

Eamonn O'Doherty's sculpture is based on the character of Anna Livia Plurabelle, who features in James Joyce's 'Finnegans Wake' as an anthropomorphic representation of the River Liffey.

It was commissioned by British-Irish millionaire Michael Smurfit in 1988 to mark Dublin's 1,000-year anniversary.

When unveiled to a conservative, pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland in 1988 the statue, drew a mixture of praise and derision.

Originally sited in the middle of the city centre's O'Connell Street, Dubliners quickly rechristened her 'the Floozy in the Jacuzzi'.

Over the years, however, she became a well-loved feature of the capital. The sculpture became a handy meeting point and acted like a magnet to students with bottles of washing up liquid determined to turn the fountain into a foam-party.

Anna Livia was not immune from changes brought by the Celtic Tiger. In 2001 the statue was removed from O'Connell Street because it did not fit with the planned redevelopment of the area.

Boxed-up and carted off, the Floozy spent the next 10 years in a crate in Dublin's outskirts.

Her return on Thursday was almost a lap of honour as pedestrians stopped and stared and motorists got out of their cars to get a better look at Dublin's long-lost daughter.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, hospital worker George McDonnell said he hurried down to the Liffey when he heard she was returning.

"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.

The Floozy's river cruise came to an end opposite the Guinness brewery. A crane hoisted her onto a truck and she was taken to her new Dublin 7 home at the Croppies Memorial Park near Collins Barracks.

Sculptor Eamonn O'Doherty said that although he had not wanted the statue removed from O'Connell Street he was pleased with her final destination.

"This little park is a perfect setting for her. She looks absolutely great," he said.