The Irish Philatelic Circle is a society whose members share an interest in Irish stamps and postal history. The current number of the Society’s excellent magazine, Irish Philately, has just come to me and contains a number of very interesting articles, including further information on the development of Irish air mail, stamps featuring the motorcyclist Joey Dunlop and a daring 1820 mail coach robbery. We have a few copies of the journal area available for sale at counters 20 and 21 in the GPO’s public office in Dublin.
Advertising slogans added by the Post Office to letters as they are postmarked are interesting pieces of ephemera. This envelope, addressed to the Gouldings’s fertiliser company back in 1964, with its advice of “June for your Irish holiday”, would have had it right for this year certainly!
We couldn’t le the 16th June go by without a nod to James Joyce. Here he is on a 2004 Irish post office stamp. Did you know that a first edition of Ulysses, sent from Davy Byrne’s pub in Dublin, was impounded by the British Post Office under censorship laws? Curiously, the book wasn’t banned at that stage in Ireland!
Following up on the Ireland connects the World documentary, here is a nice illustration emphasizing the revolution in the speed of news transmission caused by the telegraph back in the mid nineteenth century.
In the days before electricity, working lives in institutions like the Post Office were governed by daylight to a much greater extent than today. This candlestick (formerly on display in our museum and now back in the National Museum’s collection) from the old GPO in College Green Dublin is a reminder of those times. When the new GPO in Sackville Street (today’s O’Connell Street) was built, there was still a reliance on candles, of course, but gas light was also introduced not too long after the building was completed. Early gas was rather noxious stuff, however, and staff complained of feeling ill. The light might have been stronger but at least candle light was pure.
Ireland has produced many notable literary men and women over the centuries but fewer scientists. In recent years, there has however been an increasing awareness that there have been remarkable talents too in science, engineering and mathematics and one of the greatest was undoubtedly Hamilton whose work in mechanics and optics continues to have relevance today.
The excellent, A word a day, website recently featured the German Carl Friedrich Gauss and showed a stamp that had been issued for him by the German Post Office. That prompted me to find some Irish stamps featuring scientific men and since Hamilton has actually been commemorated twice by the Irish Post Office, once in 1943 and again – as shown here – in 2005 I thought he should take pride of place.
Issued by La Poste and kindly sent to me by a Breton friend, this stamp marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Anne of Brittany (Anna Vreizh), a wealthy and much pursued heiress who was twice queen consort of France. As the summer starts, many Irish people will take the boat to Cherbourg or Roscoff to enjoy their holidays in Brittany and sample the particular delights, history and traditions of that lovely part of France.
The annual Festival Interceltique, which takes place in Lorient in August, draws together some 700,000 people who wish to share the music, languages and customs of a heritage that unites the celtic peoples of western Europe. They might spare a thought for Anne of Brittany who, in choosing amongst her various political suitors, sought to preserve the independence of her native Brittany.