Blowing up statues

April 25, 1997

PAULA MURPHY, in her opening paragraph on the demolition of statues in Dublin (THES, April 11) invests the whole proceedings with a national fervour which is somewhat at variance with the various demolition attempts.

For example, Robert Kee, in lreland, A History, describes how an IRA man, with the help of a comrade, had climbed onto the base of the statue of William III on College Green to place a demolition charge. In the darkness he was unable to find anything more substantial to which to tie the explosive than the raised forefoot of the horse.

The delayed action fuse allowed the demolition team to get well away before the explosion. This failed to tumble the statue, as was the intention, but in the words of one of the surviving perpetrators they succeeded in "shaking it badly".

In the case of the statue of Lord Gough it was at the sixth attempt that it was finally destroyed. Brendan Behan summarised the whole moronic practice of blowing up statues in a ballad of which unfortunately the following is all I have. Maybe one of your readers can supply the missing verses: Neath the horse's prick, a dynamite stick Some Gallant hero did place For the cause of our land, with a light in his hand Bravely the foe he did face.

Then without showing fear, he kept himself clear Expecting to blow up the pair But he nearly went crackers, all he got was the knackers And made the poor stallion a mare.

Eventually the deed is done and the ballad concludes: This is the way our heroes today Are challenging England's might.

With a stab in the back and a midnight attack On a horse that can't even ****e.

Mike Lewis Elvendon Road Goring on Thames Reading, Berks

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns