By the junction with O’Connell Street and Earl Street North, stands the Northside’s most remarkable landmark on the spot where Nelson’s Pillar stood until it was blown up by Republicans in 1966 – the frankly astonishing Dublin Spire or “Spike” as it’s colloquially known. Designed by Ian Ritchie, this 120m-high stainless-steel needle, surmounted by a beacon, is easily the tallest structure in the city centre. Just over a metre wide at its base, it tapers to a mere fifteen centimetres at its summit. In the early morning or at dusk its surface takes on an ethereal blue colour while at night it seems to loom ominously over the city. What the ghost of James Joyce, whose adjacent and somewhat rakish statue stands just down Earl Street North, would make of it all is open to question.

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