The 1916 GPO flag-staff

The 1916 GPO flag-pole

This small section of the GPO flag staff, on which the Union Jack had traditionally been flown, is a recent donation to the An Post Museum. It is part of a somewhat longer section found amongst the rubble of the burnt-out building by one of the men contracted to clear up the debris and formed part of a private collection of 1916 and related memorabilia. The piece shows signs of cracking and is split in one place, evidence of the great heat generated by the fires that consumed the building and much of O’Connell Street during the rebellion.

A small section of the 1916 flag-pole recently donated to the An Post Museum & Archive

A small section of the 1916 flag-pole recently donated to the An Post Museum & Archive

A Letter from the Ledge – Farewell and Thank you

Dear Customers,

As most of you may know by now the An Post Museum will be closing down on 29th May 2015.

For almost five years, I have welcomed thousands of visitors from all over Ireland and the world into An Post Museum.
It has been absolutely wonderful in getting to see and hear how many of you have enjoyed the experience.

I would like to extend a big “thank you” to all of you, our customers, who have kindly supported us here at An Post Museum by visiting, sharing your stories about you or your family members, who at one time worked for the Irish Post Office, for writing to us about the museum for articles and books etc, as well as Tweeting and Facebooking us.

For me, it has been an absolute pleasure getting to meet you and being given the chance to share with you Ireland’s wonderful and almost secretive history of Irish Communications Heritage. I hope that you will continue to take part in exploring Ireland’s communications history both past and present. Please make sure to tell others about your wonderful stories as it is important to remember who our ancestors in the Irish Post Office were and how their actions made a huge impact in shaping the wider world of communications.There is so much out there waiting to be rediscovered in every town and village in Ireland; from people’s own histories to old postboxes, stamp collections, old letters and more importantly you. It is through people efforts in finding out about their local history, writing it down, preserving what they find and talking about it, so that younger generations will learn and understand how we got here especially through tough times in our nations history.

I would also like to especially thank my colleagues for their wonderful enthusiasm and hard work in helping to make our Open Days, Heritage Week, Open House and Culture Night successful.

ThanksBest wishes and thanks again,

Saoirse Kennedy
Exhibition Officer
An Post Museum

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.

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.

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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.

 

Conservation (before and after) – patience is the key!

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.

Before

Wordpress July 2014 before_02

After

web WordPress July After 2014

Patrick Scott (1921-2014) – artist and stamp designer

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.

Olympic stamp - 50th anniversary of the Irish Olympic Council

50th Anniversary of the Irish Olympic Council

Ploughing Stamp World Ploughing Championships in 1973

World Ploughing Championships in 1973

Valentine’s Day Cards – Image of the Month February

Expressions and tokens of love are never out of fashion, of course, but the tradition of sending cards to someone we love through the post grew rapidly – with cheap postage – from the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1863 the Postmaster General reported that 430,000 valentines passed through the London office alone and added that he saw “ no tendency to abandon” the practice. He wasn’t an old kill-joy but was a bit worried about the greatly increased mail volumes and the extra costs they imposed on the Post Office. The card displayed here, published by the firm of Ernest Nister, is from our archive and is a nice early twentieth example of a picture valentine where the message is conveyed in a rather cute combination of words and pictures.

Keen to do our own bit to keep romance alive, we will have our Museum in the GPO open free on Valentine’s Day this year and visitors who enter a little competition there will have the chance to win one of our new stamp mugs depicting – what else? – a love stamp!

copy Valentine postcard_Page_1

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