Molly Malone has been removed from her home on Dublin’s Grafton Street in the dead of night and taken away for a makeover due to ongoing construction work.
Gráinne Mackin, director of communications for the Luas cross-city project, said initially the plan was to move Molly and her wheelbarrow separately.
“We thought we’d have to do it in two pieces, but we managed to do the two together,” she said.
Mackin said the statue was moved onto the back of a flat-bed truck about 12.30 on Thursday morning.
“The lift went very smoothly. We’re hoping to have her back by mid-June,” she said.
More than 20 people were involved in the move, which included conservation, bronzing, lifting and transport specialists.
Mackin said it was an opportunity to undo the damage to the statue from the natural wear and tear caused by 25 years outside in the elements.
Repair, cleaning and conservation work will take the statue off the streets for around six weeks before she is taken to her new home.
The statue will then be placed outside the Dublin Tourism Information Centre on Suffolk Street for the duration of the Luas works.
Other public works of art identified for removal are the Lady Grattan Fountain on St Stephen's Green and the Steine, a sculpture on Hawkins Street.
The Thomas Moore statue on College Street and the Father Mathew statue on O'Connell Street have also been earmarked for removal and storage.