Saturday, March 5, 2011

Irish Writers

All photos are my own property.

I was reading one of the blogs that I follow John, a Dublin Taxi Driver and he mentioned that the Floozie was back in town after a long absence. I've since asked him where is is located.

Ir reminded me that Dubliners cannot resist coming up with nicknames for various public works of display.

The floozie (or floosie or floozy) in the jacuzzi is the nickname of the bronze statue, properly called Anna Livia, previously in O'Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland.

The monument is a personification of the River Liffey (Abhainn na Life in Irish) which runs through the city. Anna Livia Plurabelle is the name of a character in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake who also embodies the river. The river is represented as a young woman sitting on a slope with water flowing past her.
Taken in 2001

The 'floozie', also called 'the hoor in the sewer' (hoor, pronounced who-er, is the Dublin pronunciation of whore) was removed in 2001 to make way for a tall column that was called The Spire of Dublin. The locals renamed this as the stiletto in the ghetto, the erection at the intersection, the stiffy by the Liffey, the North Pole, the nail in the Pale,  the rod to God and so on.

Taken in 2007

There are many other statues and monuments in Dublin that have been renamed by the public. Any tourist taking  a sight seeing tour will be regaled by the guide with the various nicknames assigned to statues and buildings. Some are:

On College Street, outside Trinity College, the traffic island that a statue to the nineteenth-century lyricist Thomas Moore shares with a public toilet has long been known as The Meeting of the Waters, thus neatly honouring both the civic facility and an eponymous work of the writer.

The 'tart with the cart', or 'the dish with the fish' - the statue of Molly Malone, the fictional character of the eponymous song, shown wheeling her wheelbarrow of fish.Molly Malone, who is shown, with ample cleavage, wheeling a cart. Also known as  the Dolly with the Trolley, the Trollop with the Scollops, or the Flirt in the Skirt.

Taken in 2005

Taken in 2007

The 'quare in the square' - the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Park Square (quare is a local pronunciation of queer) or the queeer with the leer, and the fag on the crag.
Personally, I've always thought it looked like Hugh Grant.
Taken in 2005

The 'prick with a stick' - James Joyce carrying a walking cane.

The 'hags with the bags' - a statue of two women with shopping bags near the Halfpenny Bridge - pronounced as Ha'Penny Bridge.

Halfpenny Bridge

It isn't only the general public of Dublin who enjoy wordplay. The city has been associated with a huge number of major figures in the world of literature, several of them Nobel laureates, including Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, Seamus Heaney, James Joyce , Flann O’Brien, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats. Many of these have a humorous and irreverent style and a wilful disregard for grammatical convention enough to make Lynne Truss weak at the knees. Here's an example from Brendan Behan (the self-confessed "drinker with writing problems") who, when asked to define the difference between prose and poetry, is reported as saying:

"There was a young fellah named Rollocks
Who worked for Ferrier Pollocks.
As he walked on the Strand
With his girl by the hand
The tide came up to his knees.

Now that’s prose. If the tide had been in, it would have been poetry."

Taken in 2007

That incident is part of Irish literary folklore and if you take one of Dublin's enjoyable literary pub-crawls you are sure to hear it repeated.  Now whether Behan really said this is doubtful, but it makes a good story and that's what it's all about for Dubliners.

1 comment:

  1. I never got your query, but Anna Livia now resides in front of the Ashling hotel on Wolfe Tone Quay which is opposite Heuston station.
    You forgot to say that Molly Malone also goes under the name "The tart with the cart".

    Brendan Behan was a great wit and it is said as he lay dying in the hospice a nun cam and saw him destressed and sweating. So she sponged him down and dried him off and placed a cool wet towel on his forehead.. Brendan l opened one eye
    and said "Thank you sister, may all your sons go up to be bishops"
    Brendan Behans New York is a great read.

    That was a good piece well done.


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