Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The View from Nelson's Pillar - From the Archives

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Nelson's Pillar on Dublin's O'Connell Street in 1966. Despite the historic and often controversial opinion in which the statue was held, the end and fate of Nelson and his pillar could, perhaps, not have been predicted or foreseen. On this anniversary, it is timely to look back into the archives of this period and see just how this statue dominated the streetscape and skyline of Dublin's O'Connell Street. By virtue of its location the pillar was a witness   to some of the most significant events in Irish history, as well as to the development of the main thoroughfare of Ireland's capital city.

These images are from the Ritchie-Pickow archive within the Hardiman Library of NUI Galway. Taken by American photographer George Pickow when he and his wife, the famous American folk-singer, Jean Ritchie, came to Ireland in 1952-53. Jean received a full-bright scholarship to come to Ireland and immerse herself in the folk song tradition and culture of Ireland and collected songs from many leading Irish singers and musicians, especially in the west of Ireland. The couple also travelled through Dublin and took many incredible images of a Dublin that is long removed from our own recognition. George was able to take photographs from atop of Nelson's Pillar and this offers a viewpoint through Pickow's own lens but also of a vantage point of Dublin city that disappeared as quickly as the pillar itself.

Other images are also available images from the Ritchie-Pickow archive at the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway.

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