"Explosion wrecks the pillar": The Irish Times reports from 1966 On Tuesday, March 8th, 1966, republicans destroyed the huge granite pillar that stood on O'Connell Street in Dublin - knocking the statue of Horatio Nelson on to the street below. Sat 5 Mar 2016 It must have been a hectic night in The Irish Times building on D’Olier Street. Even though the explosion occurred at 1.32am, it was on the front page later that morning. The Irish Times reported that “by a miracle, nobody was injured”. However, “a search was carried out in the rubble by firemen and gardai following a report that two girls had been seen near the monument just before the explosion”. On page 4, the paper printed a photograph of the “head of Nelson resting this morning among the rubble at the base of the pillar”. It also reported that it was in 1876 when a “Corporation meeting heard the first official proposal that Nelson should go". The following day (Wednesday, March 9th) the paper reported that then minister for justice Brian Lenihan condemned the attack, calling it “a reckless action” and “an outrage which was planned and committed without any regard for the lives of the citizens”. The newspaper reported that eight men had been detained for questioning at the Bridewell Garda Station. In an editorial, it said that ever since the pillar went up (in 1809) it “has been the subject of controversy. It blocked the traffic; interrupted the view of the street, and, when we attained our sovereign independence, it was as odd to have Nelson up there as it would be to have an Austrian general’s statue in the principal thoroughfare of Milan." On page 13 the paper published a page dominated by photographs from rubble, with the paper reporting that the street was “closed to traffic as the huge lumps of stone were removed. Gardai and army technicians examined what Dubliners were already calling ‘the stump’.” Among the photographs taken in the hours after the explosion included this one of 14-year-old Philip Condron. The reader is told that the boy “nipped into the pillar for a close look and emerged later with a bunch of keys which he found inside”. It concludes that “an Irish Times photographer handed the keys over to the police”.