Easter Rising and the GPO

Easter was earlier this year than it was in 1916 and we have marked the occasion already but our picture shows the ruined GPO after the destruction caused by the Rising. The event brought out plenty of people to see what had happened at the Post Office that year and some of them will have wondered perhaps why the rebels chose the GPO as their headquarters. The building was in a central location of course and it commanded a strong position but it was the fact that it controlled communications, and particularly telegraph communications, that made it particularly attractive to the 1916 leaders. The story of how the building was occupied and the reaction and role of the postal staff who were on duty is not well known and it is a theme explored in the GPO Museum’s Letters Lives & Liberty exhibition which is due to close in the next few weeks. So drop into the GPO and get the background in time for next year’s centenary commemorations!

6 Days 1 - Copy

Merry Christmas

This year we are not only celebrating Christmas but also two hundred years since the foundation stone of the GPO was laid in 1814. There will be free entry to the An Post Museum from the 8th December till Christmas Eve so do come and take a look at our exhibition, Letters, Lives & Liberty, and if you drop in at lunch-time, you’ll also be able to join in with the traditional carol singing in the Public Office.

Have a very Happy Christmas.

An Post Museum and the GPO are closed Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Keep an eye on this page and our social media channels to keep up to date with details for events at the An Post Museum – GPO Dublin.

The Postman’s Knock

This is one of the items, drawn from the An Post Museum & Archive, which is currently on display in The GPO – 200 Years exhibition in the Irish Architectural Archive in Merrion Square Dublin. The title of a popular Victorian song, it reflects the growing importance of the Post Office in society and the particular role of the postman as the face of a Government organisation that touched the lives of ordinary people in so many different ways – through mail, telegraphs, savings and so forth. The attractive red coat was soon replaced with a more serviceable blue. Note too the absence of a door letter slot for – it took the GPO many years to persuade people to cut a slot in their fine oak doors!

Old post office poster

GPO – Hall porter’s chair

This rather splendid chair with its sedan style hood used to sit in the entrance hall of the GPO in Dublin. The porter on the Prince’s street side of the building, at what was known as the Minister’s entrance, to the GPO used to sit in this and welcome visitors from his unusual vantage point. This type of chair was often found in institutional settings and in the hallways of grand houses. I am unclear as to its origins and how it came to be in the GPO after 1916 but it is an interesting piece in our collections and can currently be seen on display in an exhibition – The GPO – Two Hundred Years – running at the Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion square, Dublin.

Chair

Heritage Week at the An Post Museum

Heritage Week at the An Post Museum will be taking place from the 23rd August to the 30th August 2014 here in the GPO Dublin. Please note that the GPO is closed on Sundays.

Heritage Week is a great way for people of all ages to discover and explore Irish history and heritage.
Here at the GPO Dublin, the An Post Museum will be open for free from 10am to 5pm.

There are a number of special tours organised for the week-long festival exploring the history of the Irish Post Office.
Free tickets are available through Eventbrite.

The GPO – Happy 200th birthday on Foundation Day!

It is 200 years since work began on Dublin’s famous GPO, headquarters of the Irish Post Office, city landmark and command post of the leaders of the 1916 Rising. To mark the occasion, we’ve decided to give free entry to the Museum on the anniversary, Tuesday 12th August, so do drop in to the GPO and acquaint yourself with the building and some of the people and the events that have gone on here in the GPO over the last two hundred years. During the month Mercier Press will be publishing a new book about the GPO by our Curator, Stephen Ferguson, and we’re also planning to run, at the end of the month and into September, a little exhibition on the history and architecture of the building in co-operation with the Irish Architectural Archive in Merrion Square in Dublin.

GPOCoverfinalRGB

So now is the time to visit one of Ireland’s iconic buildings, one that has been at the very heart of Irish life for two centuries.

 

Don’t forget to look up!

It’s 200 years this year since building work started on the GPO and while many people would recognise the fine classical facade of the Post Office, not so many pause to admire its fine architectural features and the detail that can often be found by looking up. This photograph highlights the beautiful ceiling inside the GPO’s main public office so next time you are in town, do come in and admire it and learn a bit more about the building in our museum.

IOM June2014 18

Image of the ceiling in the Public Letters Office. Note the different colours in the panels.

Greacian Keystone Design

Greacian Keystone design

Gold leaf motif: One of four that surrounds each panel

Gold leaf motif: One of four that surrounds each panel

Mercury

Image of the month – April

Stamp Album Cover depicting Mercury

This is an early twentieth century stamp album bearing a figure distributing letters. Any idea who it represents? Well, if you’re guessing Mercury or Hermes (the classical Greek version) take a bow – you’re right! Mercury was the messenger of the gods and hence a suitable figure to appear on post-related items. He, or perhaps she in this rather androgynous version, carries a staff entwined with snakes, the symbol of his authority and wears winged slippers and a helmet. The figure appears on our own GPO here in Dublin as one of the three statues on the roof of the building.

Culture Night at the GPO Museum

Inside the An Post Museum

Inside the An Post Museum


Culture Night at the GPO will be on Friday 20th September 2013.
People from all over Ireland and the world who are visiting Dublin will be treated to extended opening hours by many cultural and heritage institutions.

The An Post Museum, located in the GPO, is glad to be taking part in this wonderful night again. Since 2010, we have opened our doors to new and old friendly faces from around the globe who take delight in discovering and rediscovering the history and heritage behind the Irish Post Office.

If you are in Dublin during Culture Night do call into the GPO where you can see our 1916 Proclamation, imagine yourself working in a Travelling Post Office and maybe even take part in a tango!

New Culture Night 2013 logo

Entry to the GPO Museum will be free on Friday 20th and Culture Night activities start at 5.15pm.
The GPO and Museum will close at 9pm.

Heritage Week 2013

_DSD7092-2

In just a few short days An Post Museum will be taking part again in the annual festival called Heritage Week.

For those of you who don’t know what Heritage Week is, it is a week long celebration where Irish cultural and heritage institutions take part in celebrating Irish culture and heritage.

This time of year always has a buzz of activity around it for us here in the An Post Museum Office. From organising,tickets, information and telling people about what we are doing to celebrate Heritage Week. Each year we see 2,000 or more people come through the museum during the festival.

For all of us here in the An Post Museum the festival is always exciting, we get to meet wonderful people from all over the world. Some come to the GPO to see where the 1916 Rising took place and it is always bonus when you can show them the museum and tell people about the other aspects of the the Post Office before and after the Rising.

It is lovely to hear back from people on how they enjoyed visiting the exhibition Letters, Lives and Liberty and how they enjoyed learning something new. Many people carry with them wonderful stories of their own about how they are decended from people who either worked directly in the GPO or that their parents worked on the TPO system that the Post Office used to transport mails or that they worked on the telegraphic systems or the counters as clerks at one time. Sometimes you also get to meet people from other post offices from around the world.

Heritage Week at the GPO is a great place for people who have an interest or passion for information on the different sides of Irish history.

Entry is free to the An Post Museum during Heritage Week, so why not come along and join us?

Click on the links to learn more about the festival inside the GPO.

HW 2013 Poster