Scannal, Tuesday 3rd May, 7.00pm on RTÉ ONE

The Anna Livia Fountain, privately gifted to Dublin for the 1988 millennium and bestowed with the nickname Floozie in the Jacuzzi, is the topic in this week's episode of Scannal.

Rachaimid siar ar bhóithrín na smaointe le Scannal – Floozie in the Jacuzzi, 1988 a bhí ann agus bhí gach aon saghas ceiliúradh ar siúl do mhílaois Bhaile Átha Cliath. Ba ansin a tháinig Anna Livia ar an bhfód, ar Shráid Uí Chonaill, dealbh agus scairdeán, a bhí go mór i mbéal an phobail agus ní i gcónaí ar chúis dhearfach! Thaitin sí le daoine, agus níor thaitin - ní raibh aon ghanntanas tuairimí ar gach taobh. Caithfear súil siar ar aistear Anna Livia thar na blianta agus í thuas seal thíos seal ach í i gcónaí ina ábhar díospóireachta.

Named after a character in James Joyce’s 'Finnegan’s Wake, the Anna Livia was designed to embody a personification of the river Liffey, featuring a female figure reclining in flowing water. This week we look back at the consternation that this structure caused and take a deep dive – with washing-up liquid – into the story of Dublin’s most infamous water feature. What is it about public art and O’Connell Street – why do we always get it wrong, and can we ever really have nice things?

Anna Livia was created by world renowned sculptor Eamonn O’Doherty with the help of city engineer, Seán Mulcahy. Erected in 1988 as part of Dublin’s Millennium celebrations, the fountain was privately funded and gifted to the city by businessperson Dr Michael Smurfit in honour of his late father, Jefferson.

The Anna Livia Fountain adorned the central mall of Dublin’s O’Connell Street from 1988 until her removal in 2001, and for those fourteen tumultuous years she remained deeply divisive to the people of Dublin and the Irish public at large. The Anna Livia fountain became the biggest and most expensive refuse bin in the city and management of the site became costly and troublesome for Dublin Corporation.

Throughout her tenure on O’Connell Street, the Anna Livia Fountain was mired in controversy and was eventually removed from public view in 2001 to make way for yet another controversial piece of public art, the nearly €5 million Spire of Dublin.

Anna Livia

In 2011, after ten years on ice in a box housed in St. Anne’s Park, the Floozie would be refurbished before making her triumphant return to public view, taking a river cruise up the Liffey before settling into her new home in the Croppies Memorial Park in Dublin 7.

Scannal looks back at the rise and fall, and last splash, of The Floozie in the Jacuzzi, a key monument in a long series of failed pieces of public art on that much-troubled street.

Contributors to the programme include broadcaster Evelyn O’Rourke, Des Geraghty, actor and writer Roxanna Nic Liam, comedian Aideen McQueen, sculpture expert Paula Murphy and historian Liz Gillis.

Scannal, Tuesday 3rd May, 7.00pm on RTÉ ONE or on the RTÉ Player