At 2am on March 8, 1966, a bomb planted by an Irish republican destroyed the upper half of the pillar, throwing the statue of Nelson into the street. Two days later, Irish Army Engineers blew up the rest of the pillar. The rubble from the monument was taken to the East Wall dump, and the lettering from the plinth moved to the gardens of Butler House, Kilkenny. The area was then simply paved over. The Nelson Pillar Act was passed in 1967, transferring responsibility for the site of the monument from the Nelson Pillar Trustees to Dublin Corporation. Nelson's Pillar was controversially blown up without warning early one morning in 1966 by republicans. A number of pedestrians and motorists had near escapes as large chunks of stone from the monument were flung around the vicinity.
A new monument, known as the Spire of Dublin, was erected on the long vacant site in January 2003.