Tuesday 12 December 2017

Fifty years on, the real truth behind the myth of Nelson's Pillar

The IRA splinter group's blast was utterly reckless and could have killed many innocent civilians

Nelson’s Pillar, which was the heighest point in Dublin Photo: Independent Newspapers and NPA National Photographic Archive
Nelson’s Pillar, which was the heighest point in Dublin Photo: Independent Newspapers and NPA National Photographic Archive
Tony Killian (89) who is a member of the Institute of Explosive Engineers with the original head of Nelson’s Pillar at Dublin City Library and Archive Photo: Fergal Phillips
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

For half-a-century, a grave myth over the bombing of Nelson's Pillar has been allowed to grow - becoming ever more outlandish with the passing of each year. Now, just days after the 50th anniversary of the 1966 bombing, it is perhaps time to nail that lie.

This malign fable, regarded for decades as historical 'fact', is that the blowing up of the pillar by an IRA splinter group, just after 1.30am on March 8, was "a precision job carried out by someone who knew what they were doing", with no one injured and little or no damage to Dublin's main thoroughfare.

Worse still, the Defence Forces were smeared with the blatant untruth that the subsequent demolition of what was left of the pillar by the Irish Army "blew up half of O'Connell Street."

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