Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ireland's first Moving Statue!

About fifteen years ago, Ireland was taken over by a new phenomenon - moving statues of the Virgin Mary! The main destination for moving statue fans became the village of Ballinspittle, in County Cork, which is a few miles west of Kinsale.

But that wasn't the first; in fact, the first statue movement happened on this day, March 8th, 1966, when a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson in O'Connell Street, Dublin, moved.

In fact, Nelson's Pillar was blown up by a bomb. The full story is here.

Actually, the first bomb blew off the top half of the Column; after that, our Army was brought in to destroy the remainder of the Column by a so-called "controlled explosion". People tell me that the second bomb actually did more damage to O'Connell St than the first. I have heard that the rubble was used to build tennis courts in Raheny.

Because nobody was hurt, the whole events are remembered with typical Dublin good humour. It inspired a song which topped the Irish charts, and here are the lyrics:

To the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic".


Up went Nelson in old Dublin,

Up went Nelson in old Dublin,

All along O'Connell Street the stones and rubble flew,

As up went Nelson and the pillar too.

One early morning in the year of 'sixty six,

A band of Irish laddies were knocking up some tricks,

They thought Horatio Nelson had overstayed a mite,

So they helped him on his way with some sticks of gelignite.

(Repeat chorus)

The Irish population came from miles around,

To see the English hero lying on the ground,

The Dublin Corporation had no funds to have it done,

With the pillar blew to pieces by the tonne, tonne, tonne.

(Repeat chorus)

A crowd of lads and lassies from a dance nearby came out,

To see the bits of Nelson scattered all about,

A gossoon from the Coombe says we'll have to have a care,

In case the Corporation put King Billy there.

(Repeat chorus)

(Note that although I am posting this, I do not condone acts of violence!)

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