The GPO Museum – looking ahead

While our museum in the GPO must unfortunately close at the end of the month to make way for ongoing work on the new 1916 Witness History centre, the An Post Museum & Archive will, of course, continue its work to preserve items of postal historical interest and to promote a greater awareness of the important role played by the Post Office in the development of so many aspects of Irish life over the generations. I would certainly echo my colleague Saoirse’s sentiments in relation to our Letters, Lives & Liberty exhibition in the GPO museum. It has been fun to meet so many different types of visitors over the last few years – tourists and locals, school children and pensioners, architects, historians, philatelists, designers and fellow postal workers. In creating this museum, my aim was to open up the Irish postal world and use it to introduce some of the subjects – transport, printing, finance and design, as well as Irish administrative and political history – that have been connected with the Post Office over the centuries. It has been rewarding for us to hear from so many people who enter the museum expecting just to learn a bit  about stamps and leave it amazed at the impact the Post Office has had on Irish life. That has been the measure of the museum’s success over the last five years.

Postbox

The physical GPO museum will close on the 30th May 2015 but we shall continue to use our website and other channels to provide a virtual display of and information on some of the material that was there, adding new things from our archive collections from time to time. Keep your eyes open too for occasional talks or touring exhibitions or for items that we may display elsewhere – like this pillar box that we recently provided for the departures area of Dublin airport – an enduring and friendly symbol of Ireland for people leaving our shores.

Stephen Ferguson
Assistant Secretary & Museum Curator

GPO, Dublin

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.

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.

Military Service Pensions Collection

Military Service Pensions Collection
This week, after many years of careful research and hard work, the Military Archives are making available on line the Military Service Pensions Collection. This is a major collection of considerable historical importance and, following the launch in the GPO, the An Post Museum will have a couple of items from that collection on display in the Museum over the next few weeks.

Eamonn Bulfin (1892-24 December 1968) was serving as a Lieutenant with 4 Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers at the time of the 1916 Easter Rising. He served in the G.P.O. and was interned until December 1916. Following his release Bulfin became Vice Commandant, Birr Battalion, Offaly Brigade, Irish Volunteers and was arrested on 18 July 1918 in connection with the ‘German Plot’. He was then deported first to England and from there to Argentina in May 1919. While in Argentina Bulfin acted as a representative for Dáil Éireann and was involved in the purchase and transportation to Ireland of arms and ammunition for the Irish Volunteers and IRA as well as undertaking fund raising, political and propaganda work. Eamonn Bulfin disagreed with the Treaty, closed down his mission to Argentina and returned to Ireland in June 1922. He took no part in the Civil War.

Bulfin has a particular association with the GPO in 1916 in that he was asked to hoist the green Irish Republic flag on the mast at the corner of Prince’s Street.

Further information on the collection may be found at www.militaryarchives.ie

Eamonn Bulfin, circled, in a group at Stafford gaol in 1916.

Eamonn Bulfin, circled, in a group at Stafford gaol in 1916.

Pearse concerning arrangements for Eamonn Bulfin’s deportation to Argentina in 1919 - Part I

Letter from Margaret Pearse concerning arrangements for Eamonn Bulfin’s deportation to Argentina in 1919 – Part I

Pearse concerning arrangements for Eamonn Bulfin’s deportation to Argentina in 1919 - Part II

Letter from Margaret Pearse concerning arrangements for Eamonn Bulfin’s deportation to Argentina in 1919 – Part II

Letter from Margaret

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

Hello and Welcome to the GPO

What is the General Post Office Dublin?
The General Post Office in Dublin is the headquarters of the Post Office in Ireland.
For almost 200 years it has been located on O’Connell Street which was once called Sackville Street.
Prior to that the Post Office was situated near Dublin Castle but moved to High Street, Fownes Street (near Temple Bar) and College Green (now Abercrombie and Fitch). Each move to a bigger premises was due to the increased demand for services such as letter and parcel delivery.

In 1814 the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Whitworth purchased the site for £50,000 and laid the first foundation stone of the new GPO in Sackville Street. Sir Francis Johnston was commissioned to design the new GPO. In 1818 this beautiful building of neo-classical Georgian design opened its doors and did not cease in doing its business of serving the public until the Easter Rising 1916.

Cropped GPO

The GPO, as it is locally called, is a very famous building not only for its architecture but also for the important role it played in being the headquarters for the insurgents during the 1916 Easter Rising. For 6 days the Post Office was taken over where it ended up being heavily damaged by shelling and the fires that broke out in the City Centre. Many of the buildings in the area were destroyed during the fighting. The inside of the GPO suffered greatly and unfortunately many records were lost, but thankfully the façade of the building remained intact.
From 1916 to 1925 the GPO lay dormant and unused. It was decided by the Irish Free State Government that they would rebuild the GPO from the inside out and reopen it for business. In 1929 the GPO opened its doors once more for business.

As it stands today, the GPO is a wonderful mix of Georgian design blended with light touches of 1920’s style and is well worth a visit.

The GPO at one time was home to RTE Radio, which was stationed here until the 1970’s when it moved to Montrose in Donnybrook, County Dublin.

For more information about the GPO why not visit the An Post Museum website www.anpost.ie/heritage.