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O'Connell Street, where much of the city's main shopping district and several important public buildings lie, was being worked on extensively while we were there. Its length is punctuated by various sculptures, including the Parnell Monument (left) to the famous nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell, familiar to Joyce readers from an early scene in which the Dedalus family's Christmas is spoiled by a vehement argument over the scandal which led to his downfall.

But O'Connell Street (named after Daniel O'Connell 19th century nationalist leader) does not look back only to the past. Its newest addition (erected January 2003) is the towering Millennium Spire (right), erected on the spot where a pillar dedicated to the British hero Lord Nelson was blown up in 1966. Its severe modernity was somewhat spoiled while we were there by the fact that it was topped with an aircraft warning light. They've had trouble getting the tip of the spire to illuminate itself the way it's supposed to.

Note the gray overhanging sky. You didn't think Ireland's famous green just happened by itself, did you? Fortunately, our travel plans were "rained out" only one day.