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Spire of Dublin

Spire of Dublin
Monument of Light
The view from O'Connell Street
General information
Type Monument, sculpture
Location Dublin, Ireland
Construction started 2002
Completed 21 January 2003
Cost €4,000,000
Client Dublin City Council
Antenna spire 121.2 m (397.6 ft)
Design and construction
Architect Ian Ritchie Architects
Engineer Arup

The Spire of Dublin, alternatively titled the Monument of Light[1] (Irish: An Túr Solais),[2] is a large, stainless steel, pin-like monument 121.2 metres (398 ft) in height, located on the site of the former Nelson's Pillar on O'Connell Street in Dublin, Ireland.


  • Description 1
  • Context 2
  • Award nominations 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Gallery 6
  • External links 7


The Spire looking towards the Liffey

The spire was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects,[3] who sought an "Elegant and dynamic simplicity bridging art and technology". The contract was awarded to SIAC-Radley JV and it was manufactured by Radley Engineering of Dungarvan, County Waterford, and erected by SIAC Construction Ltd & GDW Engineering Ltd. The first section was installed on 18 December 2002.[4] Five additional 20 m (66 ft) sections were added with the last one installed on 21 January 2003. The spire is an elongated cone of diameter 3 m (9.8 ft) at the base, narrowing to 15 cm (5.9 in) at the top. Construction of the world's tallest sculpture was delayed because of difficulty in obtaining planning permission and environmental regulations. It is constructed from eight hollow tubes of stainless steel and features a tuned mass damper, designed by engineers Arup, to counteract sway. The steel underwent shot peening in order to subtly reflect the light falling on it.

The pattern around the base of the Spire is based on a core sample of earth and rock formation taken from the ground where the spire stands. The pattern was applied by bead blasting the steel through rubber stencil masks whose patterns were created by water jet cutting based on core sample drawings supplied by the contractor.[5]

During the day it maintains its steel look, but at dusk the monument appears to merge into the sky. The base of the monument is lit and the top 12 m (39 ft) is illuminated to provide a beacon in the night sky across the city.


Nelson's Pillar stood on the site of the Spire until it was destroyed by a bomb in 1966.

The monument was commissioned as part of a street layout redesign in 1999. O'Connell Street had declined for a number of reasons such as the proliferation of fast food restaurants and the opening of bargain shops using cheap plastic shop fronts which were unattractive and obtrusive; the existence of a number of derelict sites; and the destruction in 1966 of Nelson's Pillar following a bombing by former IRA members.

The Anna Livia monument was installed on the site for the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations. In the 1990s, plans were launched to improve the streetscape. The excessive number of trees in the central reservation, which had overgrown and obscured views and monuments, was reduced dramatically. This was controversial, as the trees had been growing for a century.[6] Statues were cleaned and in some cases relocated. Shop-owners were required to replace plastic signage and frontage with more attractive designs. Traffic was re-directed where possible away from the street and the number of traffic lanes was reduced to make it more appealing to pedestrians. The centrepiece of this regeneration was to be a replacement monument for Nelson's Pillar, the Spire of Dublin, chosen from a large number of submissions in an international competition by a committee chaired by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Joe Doyle. The Anna Livia monument was moved to make way for the Spire in 2001.

Award nominations

The monument has been nominated for the following awards:

  • 2003 British Construction Industry International Award finalist
  • 2004 RIBA National Award & Stirling Prize shortlist
  • 2005 Mies Van der Rohe Prize list

See also


  1. ^ "Spire cleaners get prime view of city".  
  2. ^ The Spire, Túr Solais. London: Ian Ritchie Architects. 2004.  
  3. ^ "Spike costs a million to keep clean". Evening Herald. 22 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "The Dublin Spire Competition Winning Announcement". Retrieved 29 September 2008. 
  5. ^ "Case Study: The Spire WaterJet Cutting" (PDF). Aqua Design. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Temporary reprieve for O'Connell Street trees". The Irish Emigrant. 17 November 2002. 


External links

  • Construction Photographs
  • Gallery of Spire maintenance pictures
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