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President Announces the Unveiling of New Plaque Commemorating Lucia Joyce


The plaque was unveiled in the city of Zurich this week with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

President Michael D. Higgins has announced at the Bloomsday Garden Party that the City of Zurich unveiled a memorial plaque in honour of Lucia Joyce at the Joyce family grave in Fluntern this week. The plaque is in keeping with a commitment that he made to the late Stephen Joyce.

“Of all of the women who impacted on Joyce, it is perhaps his daughter Lucia and her artistic genius that has needed to be reclaimed, however late in the day. On the 12th of December last year, it was 40 years since the death of Lucia, in Northampton, England,” the President said.

“I am so pleased to announce today that at the wish of Joyce’s grandson, Stephen Joyce, conveyed to me in numerous conversations before he died, that permission be given to have an inscription of ‘A Flower Given To My Daughter’, written by James Joyce for Lucia, to be executed at Nora and James’s grave in Fluntern Cemetery in Zurich, has finally been granted and is likely to happen next month – funded by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. Mo bhuíochas le gach éinne a bhí páirteach, agus cabhrach.

My special thanks to the Zurich authorities on the type of stone that carries the names of Jams and Nora.  It will read:

“Frail the white rose and frail are

Her hands that gave

Whose soul is sere and paler

Than time’s wan wave.

Rosefrail and fair — yet frailest

A wonder wild

In gentle eyes thou veilest,

My blue-veined child.”

The President continued,

“As a young woman, Lucia was celebrated as a remarkable artist of great promise when her modern dance performances caused a sensation in Paris, the south of France, and in Italy. Despite this, the adjective ‘troubled’ has attached itself to her name so tenaciously that her early genius is too easily dismissed.

As her father wrote,

“Whatever spark or gift I possess has been transmitted to Lucia and it has kindled a fire in her brain”, although he did acknowledge that she was “an innovator, not yet understood”.

Her experiences of mental illness, including a sad period of more than three decades in the institutional setting of psychiatric hospitals, now need to be framed as part of a much larger story of an exceptional woman whose light was so unfairly extinguished.”

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