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O’Connell Street’s Spire tops the list of must-see sites in Dublin, in a new study of photos posted on the hugely popular Web site, Flickr. 

But Dublin takes a mere 24th place among the cities that are most photographed in the world. New York receives the most attention, and London, San Francisco and Paris come in second, third and fourth. 

Scientists at Cornell University came up with statistics on the world’s most photographed cities and landmarks by analyzing nearly 35 million photographs on Flickr,  taken by more than 300,000 people. 

Claddagh in Galway, City Hall in Belfast and the Aran Islands are also tops with tourists.

Within Dublin the usual suspects follow on the heels of the Spire – O’Connell Bridge, Trinity College and Christchurch Cathedral. 

The Spire is a recent addition to the architecture of Dublin city.  Initially intended to celebrate the Millennium, it stands on the site of Nelson’s Pillar, a monument to the British Admiral Nelson that the IRA blew up in 1966. 

Its official title is the rather grandiose Monument of Light. It’s made of stainless steel, is 400 feet high, and, crucially, for Dubliners, cost nearly €5 million of public money to build. 

At first Dubliners disapproved of the Spire. It arrived late for the Millennium, and was completed only in 2003; because of its needle-like appearance, local wags nicknamed it the Spike. 

Still, six years on Dublin residents have grown fond of it, and it serves as a useful meeting point in the city center. In 2003 an internet group even launched a bid to list it amongst the new Seven Wonders of the World (the bid failed because the Spire was too recent, organizers said). 

And now, it’s clear that tourists approve of it too. 

On the overall charts, though, Dublin’s showing is disappointing. Is the city really less photogenic than Austin (23rd), next only to Portland (25th)? Perhaps a few more photographs will boost its position this summer.