RTÉ

Special Report

To the Top of the Tower

Visitors to Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin will soon be able to climb the iconic O’Connell Tower for the first time in more than 45 years.

"Dublin's Eiffel Tower"

“We really want to put back what was once there. This will be an international tourist attraction, on a par with the Eiffel Tower!”

- George McCullough, Chief Executive, Glasnevin Trust

Work Under Way

Work has finally begun on reconstructing the 51 metre tower's internal stairway, after plans were announced in 2014. The stairway will lead to a new viewing platform and exhibition space at the top of the tower.

Windows on the World

“As you go up, there are seven windows which will give you seven views north, south, east and west right across all of Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and the Irish Sea.”

- George McCullough, Chief Executive, Glasnevin Trust

A Beautiful View

Enjoy this spectacular drone footage of Glasnevin Cemetery and O'Connell Tower, filmed by RTÉ as part of coverage of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.

Video: Dave Berry, Producer Director, RTÉ

Origins

The O’Connell Tower was built between 1855 and 1869 and commemorates the Irish politician Daniel O’Connell.

Glasnevin Cemetery, Robert French (1841-1917) Courtesy: National Library of Ireland

19th Century View

This photograph shows a view of Dublin from the top of the tower at the end of the 19th Century.

Glasnevin Cemetery, Robert French (1841-1917) Courtesy: National Library of Ireland

The Crypt

A crypt at the foundation of the building contains the sarcophagus of O'Connell.

Inside the Crypt

O'Connell died in Genoa in Italy in 1847. Whilst on his final pilgrimage to Rome his final wish was “My body to Ireland, my heart to Rome, my soul to heaven”.

Bomb Damage

The tower’s winding wooden stairway was destroyed by a bomb attributed to loyalist paramilitaries in 1971. The attack was said to be in response to the 1966 destruction of Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street.

The tower survived the 1971 blast, but for safety reasons it was sealed up.

Restoration of the staircase

“We’ve been endeavouring to replace the internal staircase in the O’Connell Tower since 1991.”

- George McCullough, Chief Executive, Glasnevin Trust

Original Plans

The original plans are being used in the reconstruction of the staircase.

Courtesy: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

The Silver Trowel

Glasnevin Cemetery Museum holds the solid silver trowel that was used to lay the tower’s foundation stone.

Uncovering Secrets

“The staircase came down in 1971 and since then there’s been no real interaction with the tower.”

- Conor Dodd, Historian, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Time Capsule

Historians also know that there is a time capsule hidden somewhere within the structure.

A Step Closer

The new staircase is being built with the assistance of the Office Of Public Works at workshops at Collins Barracks.

Reopening to the Public

The project is expected to be completed by the summer. Once again the O'Connell Tower will be a room with a view that visitors can enjoy.