In October 1955, a number of students from University College Dublin were involved in an occupation of the monument to Horatio Nelson on O’Connell Street, locking themselves inside the public viewing area and attempting to do away with the controversial figure of Nelson with flamethrowers. A banner of celebrated UCD graduate Kevin Barry was displayed from the viewing platform, and a large crowd gathered below to witness the spectacle. Nine young men had their names and addresses taken by Gardaí for their involvement in the protest, yet none were arrested, which says something about the atmosphere on O’Connell Street that day.
My thanks to Karl Finlay for these newspaper clippings from the following day. My forthcoming history of the Nelson Pillar has gone to print and should be in bookshops by late May, with plenty on this rather bizarre protest.