34 thoughts on “Paean To Poolbeg

  1. Simon

    There is nothing attractive about them. People just like what is familiar, like a comfort blanket.

    1. John

      Ya, just imagine if they were never there and the ESB was trying to get planning permission for them now. There would be thousands of objections to them because they would be ruining the view. Also to my knowledge they are only around 50 years old so they are not even that old never mind historical.

    2. Mani

      True and you should always remember that the next time you stare lovingly at your significant other.

    3. munkifisht

      Attraction is in the eye of the beholder. Just because something is Industrial doesn’t mean it’s not attractive. Battersea Power station, Iron Bridge, the Fourth on the Firth all good examples. Just because something is 50 years old doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold significance. In fact, the majority of Dubliners only know the city with the towers.

      Personally, I think they are quite spectacular. A monument as associated with Dublin as the London Eye is with London, or the Eiffel Tower with Paris (a monument indecently that was derided for most of it’s existence and narrowly escaped demolition). They rise effortlessly upwards, and at 207 meters are the tallest structures in Ireland, if that is not significance in itself I don’t know what is.

      Someone once said good architecture should be controversial, a sentiment I think is absolutely correct. Not everyone will enjoy every building. I think most people would have agreed Nelsons Tower on O’Connell st was an ugly structure but many who knew it now miss it. The true fact is that unlike us, the Brits have a much better handle on how to protect their architectural heritage. Take for example the protected Ernö Goldfinger’s Metro Central Heights in Elephant and Castle, truly awful architecture to most people, but it’s significance reaches far beyond it’s façade. where as we bulldoze a truly unique Georgian row of houses I would suspect regard by many as beautiful for the ESB offices.

  2. Llareggub

    Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, they’re iconic. Most Parisians didn’t like the Eiffel Tower when it was built. Now it would be hard to imagine Paris without it. I think Dublin just would not be the same without these chimneys.

    1. C 2 the MF K

      how can you even compare the Tour Effeil with two dirty smokestacks from a disused power station, jesus christ man knock your standards up a notch, they look like sh*t, they make the bay look like sh*t.

      1. Llareggub

        C2, you’re a charlatan, trying to impress with your tiny little bit of French – it is spelt Tour Eiffel. I never compered one with the other. Also, you assume that I am a man.

      2. Medium Sized C

        It’s easy.

        You first consider that the Eiffel Tower is disliked by Parisians.
        Then you consider the impact that said Tower is part of the identity of the city.
        Next you consider that there may be some commonality in the behavior of people between cities.
        Finally you think about how people feel about the chimneys in Dublin and how the chimneys are part of the cities identity in the same way that the Eiffel Tower is.

        And you are now comparing the two.

        1. DeSelby

          Battersea powerstation has archtectural beauty. There is no reasonable comparison. People who love these chimneys, must have also been mighty impressed with the sculptural beauty of the spire.

          1. Medium Sized C

            I’m inclined to agree with DeSelby in that there is a lot more to Battersea Powerstation architecturally than the chimneys.

            A LOT more.
            The chimneys really are just chimneys.

            I disagree with the argument that I must like the spire if I like the chimneys.
            It’s illogical and silly.

          2. DeSelby

            I love industrial archicture, and was happy with how the Jameson chimney was preserved in Smithfield, and was turned into a viewing tower. (The view was hardly spectacular, and the viewing tower is no longer in use, as it was a bit of a half assed job)

            I loved the way the Gasworks were cconverted, and thought that was some great architecture….

            However if the plan is to leave these chimneys in place as they currently are, I don’t see the point. I grew up along the coast in Dublin, and always felt that they ruined the otherwise picturesque views of Dublin Bay.

          3. munkifisht

            I am using Battersea power station as a perfect example of an industrial building, no longer fit for purpose which fell into disrepair, was almost demolished but the locals loved it so it was saved. Needless to say, there was a minority who wanted it destroyed, seeing it as a remnant of London’s smoggy past. The point is that while you don’t like it, the vast majority of Dubliners do (not just making that up, I went on Google hunting for polls on it today and all of them were strongly in support of keeping the chimneys).

            You’re saying “Battersea powerstation has archtectural beauty”, but this is only your interpretation of architectural beauty. The rest of the city does find these twin towers beautiful. I think the thought that they are actually a unifying symbol of Dublin in the heart of the bay, visible from almost anywhere in the city, an iconic symbol to many living abroad that they are returning home as they see them from the window of the plane is an architectural beauty in itself.

            If you want another analogy, the Harland and Wolff cranes, Samson and Goliath, in Belfast are not particularly beautiful, are not particularly old, but they are landmark structures synonymous with Belfast and their destruction would be incomprehensible.

          4. DeSelby

            To agree with and quote Medium Sized C
            there is a lot more to Battersea Powerstation architecturally than the chimneys.

            A LOT more.
            The chimneys really are just chimneys.”

            Unifying well like architectural beauty that’s just an interpretation. It just seems sad to me the things people get up in arms about… (Garth Brooks… the chimneys etc)

            What about protesting over something of undenitable architectural value such as Aldborough House on Portland Row…or something of political value such as the banks etc?

          5. munkifisht

            I’m sorry, I’m going to rant now, but you’re not making any sense. What do you mean by A LOT to Battersea power station architecturally. The chimneys are just chimneys, and Battersea power station is just a power station, and the Eiffel tower is just a tower, and the empire state building is just a building. What C said and you repeated is a farcical comment. Two bricks on top of each other can be of far greater architectural significance than a skyscraper.

            You’ve said it yourself, “architectural beauty that’s just an interpretation”. The populace of Dublin sees beauty in these chimneys, you don’t, but the rest of the people do.

            What exactly do you mean by “undeniable architectural value”. These ARE of “undeniable architectural value” to many people. As I tried to make the analogy, they are the Harland and Wolff cranes of Dublin.

            But feck it, lets labour the point. You don’t think a chimney can be of architectural signifigance? Well, how about Marston chimney Burton-On-Trent, York destructor chimney, Smitham Chimney, East Harptree, Middleport Pottery chimney in Burslem, Stoke-On-Trent, Birmingham mint chimney, Birmingham, or Queen Street Mill Chimney in Burnley, Trumans Brewery chimney Brick Lane, London? These are all JUST chimneys, but are seen to be of more significance than just safely rising smoke above street level.

            And in terms of Aldborough House, I am all for their protection, but is anyone suggesting tearing it down within the year? No. It’s in a poor state of disrepair, yes, but it is not endangered, merely threatened.

          6. DeSelby

            Well thanks for the lecture and the lesson. I really haven’t the energy or time to debate this at any further length, other than to say I am sorry that nostalgia is going to be the driving force in maintaining these beacons of Irish architectural achievement.

          7. munkifisht

            Shame you won’t continue the debate, I was enjoying it, but rounding off, hands in the air, I can absolutely understand why you or C or anyone would not like the towers, but my point is they are significant from both a heritage and architectural point of view and, probably to most people, the most representative buildings of Dublin.

    2. ahyeah


      Really doesn’t matter if they’re pretty or not. People like them – and a lot of people in Dublin have huge affection for them (including me). I see them as almost a unifying symbol of the city – can be seen from just about everywhere. Actually, I love them.

      1. Llareggub

        There’s a park near my house. I walk it most days. There are gaps in the trees where you can see a trench of Dublin Bay and the chimneys. The view always takes my breath away, I never tire of it and cheers me up for some strange reason. I would feel bereft if the chimneys were to go, such is my affection for them. I also love seeing them from the window of an aeroplane on flying back to Dublin.

        1. ahyeah

          Seeing as we’re going there – I’m not a sentimental chap but I always have a little moment at first glimpse of them when coming into Dublin on a plane. And if you watch for it, most people on the plane turn their heads to look at them too. As I said, might not be pretty but they mean a lot to Dubliners.

  3. Simon

    For as long as I can remember (maybe 30 years back) I’ve been embarrassed by the fact that we have two ugly chimneys bang in the middle of a beautiful bay and I was delighted a few years back when I heard that the ESB were going to close down the facility and assumed that this blight on the bay would soon be no more. I was flabbergasted to discover that some people actually liked them.

  4. Clampers Outside!

    They should paint them maroon and white for starters. Because I said so. Then make a one off dare devil show with a guy with a go-pro jump out of a plane on a bicycle with a fire extinguisher for propulsion and an anvil on his back, for the drama. And see if he can get down the shoot of one of them before going splat, and if he misses, then they get blowed up as a somersaulting bus driven by a blind folded Marty Whelan flies between the two chimneys.

    It’d make great tele.

  5. Davey T

    Theres two towers over Dublin
    To be honest, they look pretty shite
    Paying homage to the real capital
    Cork, baaii, red and white

  6. pissedasanewt

    Who’s going to take care of them? I assume as ESB want them down Dublin city council would be responsible for painting them and making sure they stay structurally sound. So that’s going to cost 1.2 billion a year.

    I like them, but I wouldn’t miss them as long as they go ahead with the statue giant of Brian O’Driscoll at the 02. One foot planted on either side of the liffey and when the east link goes up, it looks like his langer hanging down.. that would be classy.

  7. steve white

    there were lots of grand plans for hat area and the pigeonhouse during the boom whats happened to those plans now?

  8. Formerly known as @ireland.com

    These are just crappy chimneys. There is nothing unique about them. If they go, people will be able to see the beautiful coast at the other side of the bay, not be distracted by these things.

    I used to see the 7 towers of Ballymun, when I flew into Dublin. That doesn’t mean that they should be kept.

    As others have said, if these chimneys are your icon for Dublin, we need a new icon.

  9. DaveM

    I am sure that a lot of people will reconsider the ”iconic,sentimental and rose colored” value of these eye sores when they are informed of how much money,consultants,engineers,contractors,sub-contractors,experts ,quangos,civil servants,security companies etc,etc,etc will be required to keep them from falling in to the bay and cutting off the shipping lanes.While the health system crumbles to the ground.

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