They drew the line at shelling it, but authorities yesterday granted permission to three middle-aged men with bad hair to close one of the most iconic bridges in the world to traffic so they could travel across it, perched on an army tank.
The reason? Partly because the three men thought that it would be cool. Partly because they could. And partly because they wanted to drum up a bit of publicity for the new live theatre version of their television show.
'Top Gear' is coming to Dublin. Permission to drive a British army tank across O'Connell Bridge and towards the GPO, however, has not been sought. Nor is it likely to be.
"It's basically three middle-aged men cocking about," the biggest of them, host Jeremy Clarkson, said of the new show, which will take place in the RDS in November. "But it will be with millions and millions of pounds worth of toys."
They can afford it. The BBC show -- ostentatiously about cars -- is screened in over 110 countries and claims to attract a global audience of up to 500 million viewers.
And when it comes to Dublin -- the first stop outside Britain -- the cheapest tickets will be €75 for what will be a 75-minute show. Organisers are putting on 10 Dublin shows, and expect to sell about 30,000 tickets.
Even Brown Thomas is getting its hands dirty by sponsoring the event.
At a press conference beside Tower Bridge in London yesterday, Clarkson -- along with fellow hosts Richard Hammond and James May -- gave a rough outline of a show incorporating many favourites from the television version, including the Cool Wall and the fastest lap, adapted for audience participation, appearances by the Stig and the trio's attempts to build their own hovercrafts.
And explosions. And 300 fast cars. And 30 stuntmen. And a fire-spewing monster.
"It's some kind of enormous spectacle," Clarkson summed up, rather unconvincingly.
So what can audiences at the RDS expect?
"Just what we just said," he replied sharply, perhaps a little cold from his jaunt across the bridge. "Everything we haven't broken in London will be there."
Does that include the breakdancing Big Ben? "Yes, but we're looking forward to it," he replied.
The show, which is also confirmed for London, Johannesburg, Sydney and Hong Kong on its first run, hits Dublin on 27 November for four days.