Nelson’s Pillar and the Rocky Pound Road Connection

The late Tom ‘The Cobbler’ McCarthy (centre) pictured with Michael Murphy (left) and Johnny Foran on Main Street as they watched the 1990 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. ©Photograph: John Reidy 17-3-1990

If you thought there wasn’t a connection in the world between Pound Road, Castleisland and Nelson’s Pillar – you’d be right.
However, not everyone you’d meet here would agree with you. This is because a local man had a lump of rock on the mantle piece of his house – close to where Pound Road meets the Market Cross – and it stated so.
Tom McCarthy was a great shoe-maker in his day and he plied his trade at the top-of-the-town and across from Hartnett’s Corner.
His workshop and house there were open at all hours to ramblers, rumour mongers and rogues and often to people who simply wanted their shoes made or mended.

Same Class of Clientele
Tom retired to the other end of the town in the  late 1960s and the house there also attracted the same class of clientele.
People coming to mass left their bicycles up against the front wall of the road-side house and they changed into their Sunday clothes in the house itself before – and back into their duds ahead of the homeward journey.
Later on in his working life, Tom or ‘The Cobbler’ as he was affectionately known, served at Radiac Abrasives as a general operative and genial go-for.
One day as he was cycling in the Tralee Road for the messages for the boys on the factory floor, a lorry load of limestone hardcore went past him.
A fist-sized rock fell off the lorry after it had passed him and, curiously, he stopped, picked it up and brought it home. He found a suitable piece of timber and made an even more suitable base for his rock.

Nelson’s Pillar 1966
On the base he inscribed, with all the roguery he could muster, Nelson’s Pillar 1966. There were people who believed that it was as stated.
Nelson’s Pillar was blown up in Dublin 50 years ago today.

I was listening to Joe Duffy’s Liveline today on the topic of the ‘taking down’ of the pillar and I thought of ‘Tom the Cobbler’ and of Seán Brennan – who loved to tell the story of the Pound Road connection to Nelson’s Pillar. May God be good to them – if He does He’ll get it back in abundance.