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DUBLIN CITY Council has just voted to make over Nelson's Pillar. The monument occupied one of the city's prime property locations in O'Connell Street until it was blown sky high 33 years ago. And the winner of the competition to replace it? A pounds 3m millennial spire, designed by London architect Ian Ritchie. Dublin jaws have been quick to flex their pin-de- siecle wit, variously dubbing the 120m (365ft) stainless-steel spire the Jab in the Slab, the Lampland in Clampland, the Stiletto in the Ghetto and the Spike in the Dyke. This last apparently reflects the much ballyhooed freedom about sex and drugs in today's Ireland.

AS THE increasingly saintly David Trimble is in Washington for St Patrick's Day - his missus is apparently keen to pick up some cut-price Levi's for the kids - one eagle-eyed reader pointed out that the high point of the St Paddy's festivities over the water this year is a presentation by Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, of a bowl of shamrocks to the US president. Do Pandorphiles know of any other premier on the planet who, rather than leading his own country's festivities, celebrates his national day by travelling abroad to celebrate it with a foreign leader? Enquiring minds want to know if this airborne nationalism qualifies as a cloverdose?

U2 ARE at home with their families in Dublin. The Cranberries? Ditto in Limerick. But some Irish rockers understand the rub of the green: Andrea Corr (pictured) will be playing New York's Roseland Ballroom with her sexy siblings. And although Bob Geldof's recent sale of his equity in Planet 24 produced beaucoup bucks from Carlton, he will spend St Patrick's Day playing a show in Milan because, according to his mouthpiece, "You can't beat a little earner".

C4'S BOILING Point lives up to its name. The show follows the exploits of A A Gill-baiter Gordon Ramsay; last week cameras caught the wideboy superchef wiping, with his saliva-soaked apron, a plate that was about to be put before a senior Michelin inspector. This can't have been the reason why Ramsay didn't get the third Michelin star for his new Chelsea eaterie, surely? One County Down viewer was so outraged by this cauchemar de cuisine that he immediately telephoned Ramsay and enquired if the spit-wipe, with its quite unsavoury hygienic implications, was standard industry practice. "All I got was a stream of abuse," our reader reports, "then he accused me of being drunk." What a charmer.

IF POSH and Becks married off their infant son to the scion of one celebrated Hollywood clan, they could found a dynasty called the Brooklyn Bridges.

ON THE wilder side of the rock beat, Courtney Love has just split from spooky youth icon Marilyn Manson. "Courtney thinks she knows everything," the celebrated bad boy blabs. "I try to set her straight on who the real rock star is." As if.

NELL BUTLER, the TV hyphenate (director-producer) and lovely daughter of Cabinet Secretary Sir Robin, held a smart salon in her Camden home the other night. The soiree had a Calliopeian theme, with three live poets, all of whom sported beards. As the reading began, one of them drew a bead on chubby blond media tart Boris Johnson. "Die, Boris, die," he began to declaim, adding for emphasis "Die, Boris die," in case anyone had missed the point. Poor Boris's puppydog charm dimmed distinctly - until the girl sitting next to the exuberant wannabe MP pointed out that the poem was about Boris Yeltsin.

WHILE IN what Argentinians call Las Malvinas, HRH Prince Charles might have tuned into the local news radio station, the Falklands Islands Broadcasting Service. That's FIBS for short.

LFHEILE PDRAIG draig faoi mhaise. Which is Irish for "A very happy St Patrick's Day" - to all our readers on these isles.

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