A piece of my childhood disappeared…
Every summer my mother, my brother and I went to Dublin to stay with my mother’s parents. We flew from Rhoose airport with Aer Lingus on one of their Focker Friendships. Then, like now, the flight used to take just under an hour though air travel was far less than the routine that is has become.
Amongst the highlights of the stay in Drumcondra. a suburb a couple of miles to the north of the Capital were a trip to the zoo in Phoenix Park or a chance to climb the 168 steps of Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street. The view of the city centre and the countryside beyond from the wire cage at the top was spectacular.
In 1966 everything changed. Nelson and his plinth had survived unscathed during the fighting and bombardment of the adjacent GPO during the Easter Rising nearly a century ago; but on this day, March 8th, an IRA off shoot placed a bomb on the pillar which detonated just after 1.30 in the morning. The charge destroyed Nelson’s statue and most of the pillar, the army finished the job a week later.
So there would be no more 3d climbs to the top.
In fact there were to be no more trips to my grandparents as both of them passed away that year.
The start of the end of my childhood.