It has been six years in the planning and an aspiration for more than 111 years. But the Spire of Hope at St Anne’s Cathedral is now in place.
The project has been overseen by the Dean of Belfast, Dean Houston McKelvey, who learned after conducting his first service as Dean in 2001 that plans for a spire, tower or campanile at the Cathedral had been ongoing since the original plans were drawn in 1896.
The Spire was built in parts in Switzerland and has been erected, piece by piece over the Cathedral. Amid much media and public interest, the final section was hoisted into place on Tuesday April 24.
Three large cranes were on site. One lifted the 35 tons of stainless steel used in the construction of the upper section of the Spire. A second was needed to lift the ballast weights on to the crane, and another was used to hoist the riggers aloft to ease the base of the Spire through the cover on the roof of the Cathedral and later to lift the riggers two thirds of the way up the spire to remove the fixture essential for the lift.
By mid afternoon the Spire of Hope was in place. More work will be required in the next four weeks, and the first public viewing of the Spire from the interior of the Cathedral is scheduled for Saturday, June 2, and a service of dedication will take place in the autumn.
Photos by Nikki Carson.