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Saturday 24 March 2018

Up in smoke: End of era for iconic towers

Michael McHale

THEY'VE been the stars of postcards, a television advert and even a U2 music video, but last night saw this famous pair out of work for good.

The iconic structures' future is now in doubt, with widespread confusion over whether they will be knocked down.

The twin chimneys at the ESB's oil-burning site in Poolbeg, Co Dublin, puffed their last plumes yesterday after operating in the capital for almost 40 years.

An hour after the 'peak hours' of energy usage -- between 5pm and 7pm -- the 680-foot high stacks, commonly known as the Pigeon House chimneys, were officially no longer in use.

The move to close the site's oil-burning plant comes as part of a deal to create greater competition in the market.

"In 2007 the ESB agreed with energy regulation . . . to close 1,300 megawatts of our electricity generation," a spokesperson for the company said.

Around 120 people were employed by the two plants at Poolbeg before one of them closed yesterday.

While more than 40 of these will stay on in the gas-burning site, the rest will retire or have been transferred to other ESB stations.

The chimneys have been in action since the opening of the site in 1971.

They are the second-tallest chimneys in Ireland and have gained nationwide recognition for their on-screen exposure.

Over the years the pair have appeared in the world famous video for U2 song 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)' as well as a famous advert for Bank of Ireland's sponsorship of the GAA football championship, which saw the candy-striped stacks painted in the Dublin colours of blue and navy.

In 2008 the twin chimneys were the subject of an appeal to have them included on the council's Record of Protected Structures, which was subsequently refused.

Irish Independent

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