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The Spire of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

July 24th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Spire of Dublin is a large, pin-like monument, 120 metres (393 ft) in height and lit from the top, whose erection was completed on January 21, 2003 on the site of the former Nelson Pillar on O'Connell Street in the Irish capital, Dublin.

The Spire, a design by Ian Ritchie Architects, is an elongated cone, having a diameter of 3m (10 ft) at the base, narrowing to 15cm (6 in) at the top. It is the world's tallest sculpture. It was originally intended that the Spire be completed by 2000 in honour of the new millennium, but construction was delayed because of difficulty obtaining planning permission and environmental regulations.

It is constructed from eight hollow tubes of stainless steel and features a tuned mass damper to counteract sway.

The monument itself was commissioned as part of a redesigned street layout in 1999. O'Connell Street (The widest and most famous street in Ireland; formerly Sackville Street) was perceived to have gone into decline from the 1970s. Some people blamed the appearance of fast food restaurants and the opening of bargain basement shops, all using cheap plastic, visually unattractive and obtrusive shop fronts, the existence of a number of derelict sites, and the unilateral decision of the IRA to blow up the Nelson Pillar, as reasons for the decline in a once famous and attractive street.

In the 1990s, plans were launched to improve the streetscape. The excessive number of trees in the central reservation, which had overgrown and obscured the street's views and monuments, was reduced dramatically. Statues were cleaned and in some cases relocated. Shop-owners were required to replace plastic signage and frontage with more visually attractive designs. Private car traffic was re-directed where possible away from the street, with its number of traffic lanes reduced, to allow more 'public ownership' of the street for pedestrians. The centrepiece of this regeneration was to be a replacement monument for Nelson Pillar, the Spire of Dublin, chosen by a committee under the then chairmanship of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Joe Doyle from a large number of submissions.

The choice of the monument proved controversial. Its cost at €4,000,000 (or well over IR£3,000,000 in contemporary currency before the appearance of the euro), was criticized, as was its design. Various nicknames were attached to it even prior to its erection (most famously, the "Stiletto in the Ghetto," "the Rod to God", the "Erection at the Intersection," and the "Stiffy by the Liffey"). One critic sought judicial review of the choice. However on its erection in January 2003, much of the criticism subsided. Two remained: its cost and the fact that it could not be used as a viewing platform, unlike its predecessor, Nelson Pillar, which provided spectacular views of Dublin.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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