IN THE early hours of the morning of March 8, 1966, 40 years ago last Wednesday, a large explosion echoed through the heart of Dublin. Nelson's Pillar, which had dominated the Dublin skyline for over 150 years, was blown to smithereens.
The 13ft statue of Britain's greatest naval hero, Horatio Nelson, stood on a Doric column of Portland stone that was 121ft tall - about one-third the height of the Spire, which now stands in its place.
Francis Johnson, the architect for the Board of Works, designed the monument, and Thomas Kirk, who was also responsible for the statues we now see on the GPO, built a decade later, created the statue. Building commenced in Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street) in February 1808 and the column was officially 'opened' on October 21 the following year at a cost of £7,000.