16 March 2011

Green Light For Nelson On St Patricks Day



I have just bumped into ex Lord Provost Eric Milligan sporting a fabulous green and blue striped tie. Eric, a life long fan of Hearts, is not switching his allegiances to the Mighty Hibernian (Hearts are the other, less cultured a football team in Edinburgh). No Eric was wearing it in honour of St Patrick's Day which falls tomorrow.

Eric explained how he had been contacted by the Irish Consul to see if he could persuade Historic Scotland to light up Edinburgh Castle in green in honour of their Patrons Saints day. Sadly it was a no go this year but he said that they did manage to persuade the powers that be to light up the Nelson Monument in Calton Hill pictured above.

Eric  enjoyed greatly  the rich irony of this being the place to be bathed in a green glow noting what had happened to Dublin's monument to the great seafarer. The Nelson Pillar in Dublin (see right) and blown up by former IRA members in 1966.

Six students then swiped the head of the statue from a shed as a fund raising prank. They were keen to pay off the student unions debt. Oh where are they now when Ireland badly needs you on a much grander scale?

They rented  the head to an antiques dealer in London for display in his shop window. £200 a month was the rate ( a lot of money for the head of a statue in those days). It also appeared in a women's stocking advert and on the stage  with The Dubliners.I am pretty sure I have that recording at home. The students finally gave the head to the Lady Nelson of the day about six months after taking it.   It now resides in the Gilbert Library.

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