Belfast Telegraph

Tower's viewing platform worked on

More than 40 years after the suspected loyalist bombing of O'Connell Tower in Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery, works are to begin on reopening a panoramic viewing platform at the top of the monument.

The rebuilding of a winding wooden staircase inside the pillar devoted to Daniel O'Connell - known as the The Liberator - is the latest step in an overall renovation of the 168-foot landmark.

It is expected to cost 200,000 euro and will re-establish the memorial as a major tourist attraction, offering visitors spectacular views - spanning from the Mourne Mountains to Meath, Wicklow and Ireland's Eye, and across the capital.

John Green, chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, said the refurbishment was a long-standing dream come true.

"The restoration of the stairs completes this task and will establish this iconic monument as one of the 'must do' visitor sites in Dublin," he said.

Funded by the public, O'Connell Tower was built between 1855 and 1869 to commemorate the Irish political leader who secured emancipation for Catholics, and greater rights and freedoms, in the 19th century.

Loyalists are believed to have been behind a 1971 bomb attack on the monument.

It was apparently in reprisal for the bombing of Nelson's Pillar - named after British naval hero Horatio Nelson - on Dublin's O'Connell Street by republicans some years earlier.

The 3ft-thick granite tower survived the blast but the windows and stairs were blown out and it was closed to the public for safety reasons.

Works on the crypt at the base of the tower, which houses O'Connell's sarcophagus as well as the remains of several members of his family, were completed in 2009.

This final phase of the Office of Public Works-funded renovation is expected to be finished in October this year.

"It was the foresight of Daniel O'Connell which forged Glasnevin Cemetery as a site of historical importance, so it is appropriate that, above all others, Glasnevin Trust should honour his memory," Mr Green said.

O'Connell died in Genoa during a pilgrimage to Rome in 1847 and had requested his heart be taken to Rome and the rest of his body back to Ireland.

Considered Ireland's national necropolis, Glasnevin Cemetery was established under his direction and is the final resting place of many historical and famous figures.

Among them are Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, Jim Larkin, Padraig Pearse, Constance Markievicz, Brendan Behan, Charles Stewart Parnell, Maud Gonne, Hannah Sheehy Skeffington and Luke Kelly.

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