Giddy to look

At 134 ft. Nelson's Pillar rose high above all the buildings around it, affording a panoramic view of Dublin comparable to the one enjoyed today from the Gravity Bar atop the Guinness Storehouse museum, which stands 144 ft. high. The pillar's viewing platform was exposed to the elements, however, and only simple iron "railings" kept the people who climbed the 166 steps to the top from returning to the ground more quickly. The view from those railings was no doubt sufficiently precipitous to induce vertigo and clinched sphincters. Stephen evokes the physical discomfort experienced by his two protagonists: "they are afraid the pillar will fall. . . . it makes them giddy to look so they pull up their skirts."

JH 2020

Life on the Raw, drawing #207 from The Cracked Lookingglass website. Source:

Photograph taken from the top of Nelson's Pillar ca. 1921, held in the National Library of Ireland. Source:

Two actual people atop the pillar, in a photograph of unknown date. Source: