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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Spiralling out of control: poor ould Admiral Nelson toora loo

Published 14/03/2004 | 00:11

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IT hardly seems a year since a very large mobile phone mast was finally unveiled in the main thoroughfare of our capital much to the delight and surprise of ordinary Dubliners going about their daily business.

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Could some reader just tell me though what this object called The Spire is meant to be?

Is it supposed to be a vision of the future because if so, the future is definitely not orange.

One year on, do any of us know what it's meant to be? Of course not.

We haven't a clue.

From conception to erection The Spire has been a joke.

The only vaguely amusing thing about The Spire is the names we've managed to call it.

'The Eyeful Tower', 'The Stiletto in the Ghetto', 'The Bertie Pole', 'The Metro-Pole', 'The Stiffy near the Liffey', 'The Spire in the Mire' or my favourite 'The Gleaming Tower of Pizza-Land'.

The Spire would be funny were it not so pathetic, now a giant urinal for trashy stag nights from England I suppose The Spire should thank its lucky stars that it is the exalted company of 'The Tart with the Cart' (Molly Malone at the bottom of Grafton Street), 'The Hags with the Bags' (two women on the Ha-penny Bridge), 'The Floozie in the Jacuzzi' or if you prefer 'The Whore in the Sewer' (Anna Livia reclining in a fountain on O'Connell Street) or, if we can say this in this year of all years 'The Prick with the Stick' (statute of James Joyce walking on North Earl Street). There were some 205 entries for Dublin's Corporations Millennium design competition and we went for this one. 'The Bertie Pole', as some cruel pundits have called it, was of course chosen to replace Nelson's Pillar which was so kindly demolished by a renegade IRA cell in 1966, 28 years last Monday. Forget JFK and Princess Di - where were you when they blew up Nelson's Pillar? Better still where were you when the Irish army tried to finish the job off a few days later but managed to almost blow up O'Connell Street in the process? But I digress - the IRA actions were hardly the work of a sophisticated Taliban unit but that was then and I suppose they struck their own blow for Irish freedom. Nelson's Pillar, erected to commemorate his minor victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, was a somewhat politically loaded statement. Yet at least you could climb up it and look out over the city. At least you could recognise it as a representation of human being (of sorts). Despite the fact that it was about as appropriate as having a statute of Mr Sad Man Insane in the grounds of the White House, at least it was our enemy - and we always kept them close to us. The problem with The Spire is that we allowed and nurtured its creation. We could point the finger at the English again as Ian Ritchie Architects in London designed this monstrosity. Perhaps we let them win to say sorry after that small incident with Admiral Nelson in '66. Really though, as ever, we have only ourselves to blame. The Spire would be funny were it not so pathetic, now a giant urinal for trashy stag nights from England, who can show their appreciation of modern Irish culture in the only way they know how. How the poor boys from Blighty must love O'Connell Street with its state of the art pizza huts, its addicts, its human flotsam and jetsam attracted by the garish lights and violent sub-culture that such designs and architecture create and nurture. A giant sewing needle represents what the New Ireland is about. A metaphor for the heroin problem in central Dublin, The Spire confirms, to all tourists and visitors who will listen, that the Irish nation now worship at the alter of Vulgar, God of all things nasty and ephemeral. As the blood is barely dry on the shirts of the men of 1916 the Irish nation gives their memory the artistic two fingers. The Spire is our way of saying thank you for their blood sacrifice. Perhaps Admiral Nelson wasn't such a bad bloke to have there after all - at least then we could blame someone else.

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