Smithfield to gain glass 'tree' as O'Connell St goes green

Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 00:00

The controversial glass Christmas “tree” that has been erected on O’Connell Street since 2008 is being replaced by a traditional Christmas tree this year.

The lights will be switched on by Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí on Sunday, November 25th.

A spokesman for Dublin City Council said last night it had been decided to move the artificial tree to Smithfield this year as a way of encouraging footfall in that area of the city over the Christmas period.

This followed discussion between the city council, Dublin City Business Improvement District and the Dublin City Business Association.

The 18m, five-tonne, eco-friendly “tree” is illuminated by 100,000 bulbs.

Designed by the French firm Blachère, which created the lighting for the Eiffel Tower, it cost €300,000 and was funded by Dublin City Business Improvement District, in partnership with the city council and Dublin City Business Association.

The council spokesman said the plan was to move the artificial tree to “other areas of the city which need a boost”.

He said “a lot of work has been done there [in Smithfield] and there’s a new power supply”.

It was also the case that “there was quite a bit of facilitation with traffic, etc” when it came to locating the artificial tree on O’Connell Street, he said.

The artificial tree, which he described as “bright and cheerful”, was not being moved because of any objections by the public, he said.

In 2008, amid controversy over the tree when it was first erected, a spokeswoman for Dublin City Council had said: “We will be using the tree for the next 10 years and we will review the situation then.”