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The Explosive Demise of Dublin’s Nelson’s Pillar in 1966

On March 8th, 1966, Nelson's Pillar on O'Connell Street in Dublin exploded and tumbled to the ground. Nobody was injured in the explosion and it was replaced by the Spire of Dublin built in 2002. Learn more about the history of the pillar and the immediate aftermath of the event!
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On March 8th, 1966, a significant event occurred in Dublin, Ireland. Nelson’s Pillar, a landmark located on O’Connell Street, was destroyed in an explosion that caused it to collapse. The aftermath of this event is captured in a photograph that depicts the rubble that was left behind. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the incident.

Nelson’s Pillar had been a well-known structure in Dublin since it was erected in 1809 to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. The pillar stood at 121 feet and was a popular spot for tourists and locals to admire the city’s views. However, the decision to keep the statue of Nelson at the top of the pillar, which some saw as a symbol of British oppression, was controversial and led to calls for its removal.

A half-demolished Nelson's Pillar on O'Connell Street, Dublin. Source: National Library of Ireland
A half-demolished Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street, Dublin. Source: National Library of Ireland

The destruction of Nelson’s Pillar in 1966 sparked a public debate about the statue’s relevance and the future of the site. Ultimately, it was decided to replace the pillar with a new structure that would be a symbol of modern Ireland. Thus, in 2002, the Spire of Dublin, also known as the Monument of Light, was unveiled at the site. The Spire is a stainless steel structure that stands at 398 feet and has become a popular tourist attraction in Dublin. The destruction of Nelson’s Pillar marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one for Dublin’s cityscape.

There’s a pretty good book on the history of the pillar available on Amazon.

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