Nelson’s Pillar gates should be restored, Senator says

Labour’s Kevin Humphreys calls for the barriers to be saved from sewage station

 Souvenir hunters  carting away small pieces of Nelson’s Pillar following its  bombing by republicans in 1966. File photograph: The Irish Times

Souvenir hunters carting away small pieces of Nelson’s Pillar following its bombing by republicans in 1966. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

A plea to rescue the entrance gates of Nelson’s Pillar from the Ringsend sewage pumping station and have them restored to Dublin’s O’Connell Street has been made by Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys.

The pillar, which was bombed by republicans in 1966, had been a popular tourist attraction since it opened in 1809.

Complete with its statue of Horatio Nelson, it rose to a height of 40.8m (134ft).

Visitors could climb the 168 steps inside it to a viewing platform just beneath the statue.

Following its destruction in March 1966, many Dubliners took pieces of the rubble as souvenirs, but the entrance gates were taken into storage.

Mr Humphreys has written to assistant city manager Brendan Kenny, saying it is “a terrible shame” that the gates are stored at the sewage works and asked that they be displayed.

The spot where the pillar stood is now occupied by the Spire, but Mr Humphreys said a place could be found for the gates on the median of O’Connell Street.

“I realise there are mixed feelings towards the pillar, but it was part of the history of the city,” he said.

GPO museum

Historian and author Donal Fallon said the gates could perhaps be displayed in the new GPO museum, given that both structures shared the same architect in Francis Johnston.

“There are fewer and fewer people about who remember the pillar, but it still has an enormous sentimental draw,” Mr Fallon said.

A spokesman for the council said it would examine options for relocating the gates.