The Floozy In The Jacuzzi
Stories of Ireland
Story by Korinn Braden
Yet another insulting title, I know. But have you heard the other names? The Biddy in the Bidet? The Whore of the Sewer? Those Dub’s have a strange, yet totally Irish, way of showing affection! So of course our friend had to continue the tour of monuments with screwy names.
This is the story of a monument erected in 1988 in Dublin to honor Anna Livia Plurabelle. Who or what is that? The bronze and granite sculpture was created by Eamon O’Doherty. Like most everything in Ireland, there is a story involved.
The River Liffey begins in County Wicklow and runs through the center of Dublin, feeding into Dublin Bay, then into the Irish Sea. Through time there was no formally recognized name of the river. There are as many as thirty-one documented names for the Liffey. The Irish name is Abhann an Liffe, then perhaps Anglicized to Avon Liffey. Variations in spelling suggest origins in Irish, English, French and Latin and was often left to the individual recording the information. The formal name is now Liffey, however some recent documents call it the Anna Liffey, perhaps inspiring James Joyce’s character in Finnegan’s Wake.
Unlike Molly, we know that Anna was created by the quintessential Dublin author, James Joyce. Known for his incredible use of language, with some tie-ins to Irish legend, many of his works revolve around life in Dublin. The character of Anna Livia Plurabelle is the personification of the River Liffey. The statue depicts the river, represented by a young woman sitting as water flows past her.
The Anna Livia Bridge is the first of sixteen bridges on the Liffey in Dublin. The original bridge, named Chapalizod, was changed in 1982 to mark the one hundredth anniversary of James Joyce’s birth. Although the statue is no longer at its O’Connell Street location, don’t fear.
In 2001 she was relocated on the Liffey, to an area known as Croppy’s Acre. And do you know what took her place at her old haunt? A monument called the Spire of Dublin was erected in 2003 to acknowledge a previous statue called Nelson Pillar. The pillar was destroyed by the IRA in the 1970s in protest to the commercialization and decline of that part of Dublin . The 393 foot spire is affectionately referred to as the Stiffy on the Liffey. Go figure!
Again, many thanks to on-line sources, including:
Maloney, Gerald and his students participating on the North Dublin National School Project