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Let there be light - call to promote city statues

A DUBLIN city councillor hopes to brighten up the capital and boost tourism by illuminating monuments and statues at night.

Cllr Paddy McCartan of Fine Gael, who is proposing the motion, said the relatively low- cost improvement to the capitals nightscape would benefit tourism:

"Visitors coming in from the airport who arrive on O'Connell Street are getting a very poor first impression of the city because it is so dull.

"At the moment it's not a particularly pleasant vista. But if we were to light some of these monuments it would add character and tourists would be encouraged to explore the area."

The Pembrook-Rathmines councillor told the Herald how he got the idea for this motion.

"A few weeks ago, I went to O'Connell Street to observe after I'd heard complaints that it was poorly lit and unsafe. What struck me was that there just weren't many people around and not much light."


He has also suggested that a plaque explaining the historical relevance should be placed beside each monument.

"I saw American tourists going up to these statues but firstly they couldn't see them well and secondly there was no explanation of what they were."

O'Connell Street has eight major statues and monuments, most of which are more than 100 years old, with the obvious exception of the Spire.

One of the most impressive is the statue of Daniel O'Connell flanked by angels.

The South Dublin councillor said he would like to see more tourists know its story.

"It's over 150 years old and has over 30 bullet holes in it which tell a story about the street's turbulent past," he said.

Cllr McCartan has proposed the lighting be introduced to College Green as well.

"The statues on College Green are hidden by the trees there. The statues of Henry Grattan, Thomas Moore are beautifully constructed and would be greatly enhanced by being lit up." The councillor emphasised that he was keen not to waste taxpayers' money but felt this would be "a relatively inexpensive and very highly beneficial to tourism in the city".

"I'm very conscious of the scarce resources available and there's not a huge amount of renewal going to happen in O'Connell Street at the moment.

"I would like to see O'Connell Street completely regenerated, particularly coming up to the centenary of 1916. But this is one small change that could make a big difference for tourists to appreciate the historical significance of Dublin's main thoroughfare."