No reinstatement for Nelson’s Pillar gates, says council

Labour Senator wants gates which stood for 157 years rescued from sewage depot

 Nelson’s Pillar as seen from North Earl Street, Dublin in 1963. The pillar was bombed three years later. Photograph: Kevin McMahon

Nelson’s Pillar as seen from North Earl Street, Dublin in 1963. The pillar was bombed three years later. Photograph: Kevin McMahon


Dublin’s O’Connell Street would not be a suitable spot for the relocation of the entrance gates of Nelson’s Pillar, where they stood up to 50 years ago, Dublin City Council has said.

Last July, Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys wrote to the council’s assistant chief executive, Brendan Kenny, to ask that the gates be removed from the Ringsend sewage pumping station where they are stored and displayed in a more suitable location.

The pillar, which was bombed by republicans in 1966, had long been a popular tourist attraction since it was opened in 1809. Complete with its statue of Horatio Nelson, the pillar rose to a height of 134ft (40.8m) and visitors could climb the 168 steps inside its hollow interior to a viewing platform immediately beneath the statue.

Into storage

Mr Humphreys, Labour’s spokesman on Dublin, has asked that they be removed from the sewage works.

“It has come to my notice that the gates from Nelson’s Pillar are currently stored at the sewerage pumping station in Ringsend,” his letter states. “I think that this is a terrible shame and a more suitable location should be found, possibly be reinstated on O’Connell Street as part of the heritage of the city.”

The spot where the pillar stood is now occupied by the Dublin Spire, but Mr Humphreys said a place could be found nearby on the median of the street.

“I realise there are mixed feelings towards the pillar, but it was part of the history of the city and the gates are one of the last remaining pieces we have,” he said

However, Mr Kenny has said the gates would not be returning to the street.

Suitable place

However, he said he would write to the GPO museum to see if they would be interested in displaying them.

“In the meantime, consideration will be given to their relocation to the Richmond Barracks, where they could be displayed in a suitable environment,” Mr Kenny wrote.

While the barracks would be better than the sewage depot, Mr Humphreys said, it could only be a temporary solution.

“The gates need to be displayed in a location to which they are more tightly connected. The GPO would be suitable, with both it and the pillar sharing the same architect in Francis Johnston, ” he wrote.

A spokeswoman for An Post said that the gates were among a number of items that had been offered to the museum since it opened.

“The offer will certainly be considered,” she said. “But we will have to look at the space we have and how the gates might be presented.”