1809 – Nelson’s Pillar, O’Connell St., Dublin

Architect: William Wilkins



Predating London’s Nelson Column by almost 30 years, Nelson’s Pillar was a 36.8m tall column with a 3.9m tall statue by Thomas Kirk in Portland Stone at the top. At construction it was the tallest Doric column in the world, contained a viewing gallery at the top, accessed via 168 spiral steps to a platform which gave a bird’s-eye view of the city. The diameter of the column was 13 ft at the bottom and 10 ft at the top.


As early as 1874, there was discussion about removing it to St Stephen’s green or other large open space as, “Such an immense mass of masonry should be placed in the centre of a large space such as Stephen’s Green or the Phoenix Park, to either of which places I hope soon to see it removed; it cuts in two what would otherwise be a street of noble proportions…”


It was blown up by the IRA on the 8th March 1966 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Two days after the original damage, engineers from the Irish Army blew up the remainder of the pillar. Legend has it causing more destruction on O’Connell Street than the original blast.