The long history of the Post Office and its involvement in so many different aspects of Irish life and society make it an ideal subject on which classroom lessons may be built. At the heart of the Post Office story is the human desire to communicate and whether it’s news, love, or business, the men and women of the Post Office are the people who have done this, by letter, telegraph and telephone, for generations. Methods of transport follow on naturally from the theme of communications and the gradual extension of Post Office business into areas like banking and pensions fixed its place firmly in local and rural life throughout Ireland.
Architecture, design, printing and politics – all can be introduced through aspects of Post Office history. The role of the humble stamp in creating Irish identity is a fascinating story, for instance, but for most pupils it is the GPO and 1916 which will strike an immediate chord of interest and recognition. A visit to the GPO museum to look at the Proclamation in the very building where P H Pearse read it aloud to passing Dublin citizens is a memorable experience.
Stephen Ferguson Curator