Saturday 19 July 2008

Dublin's 'Spire' monument to be repaired

The landmark Spire monument on O’Connell Street in Dublin will be cleaned, polished and repaired this weekend, with resulting traffic restrictions on the capital’s main thoroughfare.

Dublin City Council said it hoped to repair the lights at the top of the Spire, which have not been working in recent months after a problem developed with the rope and pulley mechanism on which the lights are mounted.

A special crane – the only one of its type in the country – will be used to access the top of the structure.

“Weather permitting, it is proposed to erect a crane in the median on Saturday 19th July, with the dual purpose of carrying out maintenance works on the rope and pulley and the lights,” the council said in a statement.

“It is also intended to use the opportunity of the crane being on site to give the structure a further clean even though one was not scheduled until next year.”

On Monday, the bottom two metres of the 120-metre high monument will be treated and repolished. The Spire has been vandalised with acid-based graffiti at a number of points, and this needs to be removed the council said.

There are also a number of deep scratches which will also be repaired.

Central area manager Charlie Lowe said: “There is a planned maintenance programme for the Spire and it was decided that, rather than hiring a 120-metre crane just to work on the lighting and rope and pulley maintenance, cleaning work would be conducted at the same time.

“This is scheduled to take place over the coming weekend, it’s a two-day job and it is subject to weather conditions being suitable.

“The crane is the highest and only one of its type in Ireland, so therefore, it cannot operate in high winds. If conditions are suitable the work will be done this Saturday and Sunday, or may need to be put off for another weekend,” Mr Lowe said.

Additional repolishing works will be done after the cleaning and maintenance work. Traffic restrictions will apply in the vicinity of O’Connell Street during the works.

The Spire, officially called the Monument of Light, was to be erected in time for the turn of the Millennium celebrations and the rejuvenation of O'Connell Street in Dublin in 2000, but was ultimately not erected until April 2003.

The cost of cleaning it was estimated in 2005 at about €50,000, with the cost of hiring the crane making up most of that sum.

Council engineer Michael Kelly told The Irish Times in 2005: "We have to make a call about how often we clean it, so we're going to have to live with a period when it's grubby. The chances are it will be once every five years."

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