From the Guinness Storehouse to Dublin Castle, Dublin is steeped in history and Irish heritage. Like every capital city, Dublin has its fair share of monuments that honour the city and its citizens. Below are 7 that every tourist should see in their lifetime.
1. Sphere Within A Sphere
Designed by Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro, the Sphere Within A Sphere is located at Dublin’s Trinity College. It’s a stark example of Pomodoro’s bio-mechanical, surrealist aesthetic, a style that’s been copied and co-opted by artists across the world. Look for it outside the library which houses the Book of Kells exhibit.
2. O’Connell Monument
This monument to Daniel O’Connell, also known as The Liberator and The Emancipator, stands at the southern entrance to a historic street of the same name. It’s surrounded by nearly thirty other bronze figures, each symbolising one of Ireland’s main trades or social classes in the early 20th century.
3. Statue of James Joyce
Best known as the author of Ulysses, Irish poet and novelist James Joyce is widely known as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. As such, this monument to Joyce rightly deserves its place on the historic O’Connell Street. Unfortunately, the statue’s rather snooty pose, combined with Dublin’s obsession with nicknaming their statues have resulted in this one being called the prick with the stick.
4. Fusilier’s Arch
Fusilier’s Arch is equal parts a gorgeous piece of architecture and low-key controversial monument. It’s an elegant structure that’s based on the Arch of Titus in Rome, Italy. You can visit it at a city centre public park called St. Stephen’s Green.
5. Statue of Séan Russell
You only need to know who Seán Russell is to understand why this Fairview Park statue is the single most controversial monument in all of Dublin. It’s been vandalised, decapitated, and replaced since the original statue was erected in 1951 due to Russell’s actions leading up to his death.
Russell died in 1940 on a Nazi u-boat after travelling to Nazi Germany in an effort to secure support for the IRA’s efforts to overthrow the Free State and reunite Ireland north and south.
His supporters say that he had no interest in Nazi ideology and that his discussions with Germany were simply a case of “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity”.
Objectors to the statue say that it matters little what his motivations were, the company he kept is enough to disqualify him from any kind of honour.
The u-boat is believed to be en route back to Ireland and those opposed to the Russell statue say it equates to Nazi collaboration.
6. Spire of Dublin
What looks like a gigantic pin that points to the sky at O’Connell Street is actually a 121.2-metre conical spire made up of eight large, hollow cones made from stainless steel. It’s an especially breathtaking sight at night when the top of the spire is illuminated from within via LEDs shining through its 11,884 holes.
7. Statue of Phil Lynott
This monument in homage of the principal songwriter, founding member, bassist, and vocalist of the iconic Irish rock band Thin Lizzy has stood on Harry Street (off Grafton Street) since 2005. Dubbed simply as the ace with the bass, Lynott’s monument has somehow been saved from the hilarious Dubliner pastime of giving lewd and/or politically incorrect nicknames to the city’s monuments.