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.
While the Post Office has long carried letters, its role in parcels is not so old. During the nineteenth century, carriage of parcels was by road carters and subsequently by the railways but towards the end of the century the Post Office entered this market and following the adoption of the Post Office (Parcels) Act in 1882, letter carriers were renamed postmen and the parcel post became part of the Department’s wider services. it was a move that proved very popular with the public though it meant a big change for the Post Office and its staff. This Christmas card from the An Post archive, sent to staff in Tullamore in 1886, offers fraternal greetings from the Dublin parcels staff. Today, the rise in online shopping means that parcel traffic is again very important for the Post Office.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Safeguarding archival material for the future is a worthwhile job and one of the main responsibilities of those who work in the heritage, museum and archive sector. It’s work, however, which depends on the expert skills of conservation specialists who are able to achieve seemingly wonderful transformations through the application of gentle cleaning, stitching, Japanese paper and – most importantly, patience. This is a nineteenth establishment volume relating to postal staff in Limerick which was in a very bad condition when it was given into our care. It is not complete but Limerick records from the period are very scarce so it was worth conserving. Skilful work by The Ox Bindery in county Sligo means it can now be safely accessed and used in dealing with some of the genealogical queries we receive.
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.
Image of the ceiling in the Public Letters Office. Note the different colours in the panels.
Greacian Keystone design
Gold leaf motif: One of four that surrounds each panel
I am indebted to the son of a former Post Office man for this image of a Post Office programme featuring Lennox Robinson’s well-known play, Drama at Inish. Paddy Cahill was Head Messenger here in the GPO and was active in many different facets of Post Office life, including acting and stage management. The advent of television and subsequent technology largely eroded the one very strong tradition of employees organising dramatic, musical and various other societies as adjuncts to their work. Many people found a talent or honed a skill through their participation in these clubs and societies and the Post Office, as a major employer, was no exception.
Image of the Month: May 2014
Patrick Scott, who died earlier this year, was an Irish artist of international renown whose distinctive signature image – a disc of shimmering gold leaf applied to a plain canvas – is instantly recognisable. On display in the GPO Museum at the moment are a couple of Scott-related items drawn from An Post’s archive.
Born in Kilbrittain in county Cork his interest in painting was encouraged by a far-sighted school-teacher at St. Columba’s College in Dublin and later by his association with the White Stag Group of painters who experimented with various aspects of modernism. Scott trained as an architect and worked for Michael Scott’s practice. Following his success at the Guggenheim in New York and the Venice Biennale he left the practice in 1960 to devote himself to artistic work.
He was a man, however, whose creative genius spanned many disciplines: he worked on the Busáras building, created many beautiful tapestries, had fun inventing street decorations and also found time to design a number of postage stamps for the Post Office.
The stamps shown here illustrate different aspects of his graphic talent. The 1972 Olympic stamps were issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the Irish Olympic Council. For this he took inspiration from a carved slab at Clonmacnoise, one of Irelands’ most famous monastic settlements. The other stamps, in colour and line, display a marked contract in style and were designed by Patrick Scott for the World Ploughing Championships in 1973.
50th Anniversary of the Irish Olympic Council
World Ploughing Championships in 1973
This little lamp box, tied up with rope, had been on loan from the An Post Museum to the Project Arts Centre in Dublin as part of an exhibition that explores the relationship between humble everyday objects and the rules and restrictions which define the society in which we live. The exhibition, Wasteland, is the inspiration of two Czech artists, Eva Kot’atkova and Dominik Lang. It continues until the 14th April.