Dublin’s landmark Spire at 20


Sir, – With reference to your article on the 20th anniversary of the Spire (“Dublin’s Spire at 20: The inside story of the city’s most divisive landmark”, News, January 21st), I remember a quirky story back in 2004 when the monument was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for architecture.

My colleague and I were sent by the City Architect to meet the judging panel at the Spire so as to give some background to its design and construction.

One of the judges was Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs. He put it to us that it was a bit of a “stretch” to regard this as a building . All other shortlisted projects were buildings.

The maintenance crew from Dublin City Council opened the ground access hatch and we all descended into the underground area to view the mechanism that steadies the Spire from swaying.


The complete underground area was covered with discarded lipstick.

The crew informed us that people who were meeting their dates at the Spire would use the mirrored surface of the lower part to apply their lipstick and then drop the empty lipstick through the open circular grille at the base of the monument. They mentioned that they would clear out numerous lipsticks monthly.

I believe the open grille has now been replaced.

The monument still serves as a meet-up spot, a vital social function. Sadly the Spire did not win the Stirling Prize. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.