DUBLIN – Ireland’s O’Connell Tower reopened to the public on Saturday after it closed 47 years ago following a bomb attack whose perpetrator has still not been officially identified.
Hundreds of tourists, both local and foreign, were seen coming in from different corners of the city to visit the tower on the first day of its reopening to the public.
The 55-metre round tower was originally built in the 1850s in honour of Daniel O’Connell, known as the Liberator for his work repealing discriminatory laws against Catholics and withdrawing Ireland’s union with Britain. He was one of the greatest political figures in the first half of the 19th century in Ireland.
O’Connell was known for his fight for equal political and civil rights of Catholics in the country.
Born in 1775, he died in Italy in 1847 while on a pilgrimage.
According to his last wishes, O’Connell’s heart was buried in Rome while his remaining body is placed in a coffin at the base of the tower.
It was once one of Ireland’s greatest attractions and offered views of Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and the Irish Sea.
It was as a symbol of national identity that it was targeted by loyalist bombers in the early hours of Sunday, January 17th, 1971 in a petty act of spite following the blowing up of Nelson’s Pillar in 1966.
In 1971, a huge bomb containing 10 pounds of gelignite were placed at the bottom of the staircase to the tower. The explosion blew out every window in the tower and the whole staircase came crashing down.This explosion causes structural damage and destroying the interior staircase.The culprits were never found.
Though some group claimed responsibility for the bomb attack, it has never been officially confirmed who really conducted the raid.
In 2016, Glasnevin Trust, the largest funeral services provider in Ireland, started work to restore the destroyed part.
Renovated Steps Of Tower
Tower renovations began in 2016 and cost around €400,000 in total, according to Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, John Green
Measuring 55 metres in height, the round-shaped tower built with stones is the tallest of its kind in Ireland, which provides a 360 degree view of Dublin and its neighbouring counties of Wicklow and Meath with four windows at the top of the tower, making it once one of the greatest attractions for tourists in the countrywide staircase that leads to the top of the tower.
The newly installed 198 step staircase in the O’Connell Tower is comprised of a wrought iron spiral staircase followed by hand-carved wooden steps. The top of this iconic Dublin tower provides a 360-degree panorama affording breathtaking views to the north, south, east and west across all of Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and the Irish Sea.
Dublin-Ireland Tower View
Officials with Glasnevin Cemetery said the destroyed staircase had been restored strictly according to what it looked like in the past. Made of wrought iron, the spiral staircase consists of 198 hand-carved wooden steps ascending to the top of the tower with six landing platforms.