Thursday 17 October 2019

Spire getting its spark back

Shine returns as the lights go on for first time since March

The Spire to brighten up city centre again
The Spire to brighten up city centre again

Cathal McMahon

DUBLIN’S monument of light will shine again this weekend for the first time since March. The absence of lights on the 400-foot high Dublin Spire sitting in the centre of O’Connell street has concerned residents and tourists over the last two months.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said: ‘‘The lights went out in March but, instead of paying the huge amount of money to rent Ireland’s tallest crane, we decided to wait until the general maintenance which is taking place this weekend.

‘‘It’s not like changing a light bulb in your kitchen,’’ she said.

A 120-metre tall crane will be brought in on Saturday and Sunday and, depending on the weather, general maintenance and cleaning will be carried out, including the installation of a new aviation light and 2,000 white luxeon LEDs.

The spokesperson insists that there is no danger to air traffic when the lights are damaged or broken.

‘‘No commercial plane or otherwise flies over it. The only thing that will fly that low over the city centre is the garda helicopter and we have informed the gardai about that.’’

When asked if this light would continue to go out, the spokesperson said there was no way of knowing this.

‘‘If it happens again, we will wait until the next weekend of maintenance before the light will be replaced.’’

It is expected that the spire will cost upwards of €40,000 of taxpayers’ money to clean this weekend. The structure was touted as “self-cleaning” when first erected in 2003 at a cost of €4.8m.

However, the council conceded that its maintenance cost €205,000 last year and will increase to at least €218,000 this year.

German firm Hochtief Facility Management cleans the first 2.5 metres of the Spire at 7am every morning and the first 12 metres every three months.

Hochtief are also responsible for the maintenance and replacement of the lights on the structure.

This is not the first time the Spire lost its spark.

Back in 2003 an aviation warning went out again after the light went out on top. That time the light was replaced in a few hours.

The decorative LEDs, that are supposed to last for ten years have posed numerous problems for those maintaining the monument as well.

The “monument of light”, was designed by Ian Ritchie architects and won numerous design awards.

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