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London firms on shortlist for Dublin monument

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Two London-based practices and a Dublin architect have been chosen as finalists in the competition for a new monument on Dublin's O'Connell Street to replace the demolished Nelson's Pillar. Selected from more than 200 entries from around the world, each finalist will receive £6000 to produce a model of their proposal and a financial premium to engage specialist advice.

Despite competition rules requiring at least five finalists, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland jury picked just three entries that it felt could be realised.

Ian Ritchie Architects and Hunt McGarry Architects, both from London, and Jonathan Bennett, who recently returned to Ireland after working in Australia, produced designs that were what one panel member described as 'unique in concept and structure and quite unlike anything else around'.

Both uk finalists have strong Irish connections. David Hunt is an riai member and Colette McGarry was born in Ireland. Ian Ritchie has recently designed a substantial glass house in Cork.

The panel refused to release images - reportedly to prevent public canvassing - but the selected proposals are understood to be secular and not particularly Irish or Celtic. One is said to be linked to the concept of it, another is thought to be very tall so perhaps impossible to realise, while a third draws on the amorphous notion of 'the absence of Nelson'. All have abandoned the original criterion of public access to a viewing gallery at the top.

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