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.

Parcel post – Christmas card

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.

Tullamore Post Card

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.

 

Independence Day – America and Ireland via Foynes

A happy Independence Day to our friends in the USA!

This 75 year old first flight cover, kindly donated to our archive, marks the transatlantic air connection between Foynes in county Limerick and New York. For  a short period before the Second World War a flying boat service operated from Foynes and it carried mail as well as passengers. It was, of course, an expensive passage  but for those who had the means it was a fast and glamorous trip and those times are well commemorated in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum today.
The war put a stop to the flights and with the rise of jet-engine aircraft, the flying boats, as a commercial venture, were consigned to history. Shannon airport, however, developed from the operations here and established itself as a transatlantic hub.
Letter Cover

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

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After

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The right address?

Inspector of Lunatics – Government Buildings 1923

One of the charms of working with archives is the fun of turning up something quirky or amusing from time to time. This letter recently came to light in our archives section and demonstrates the ongoing importance of putting the right address on a letter. Postcodes of whatever ilk are likely to be much less fun than traditional addresses!

Letter from 1923

Letter from 1923

 

Normandy and Dunkirk – a philatelic reminder of individual heroism.

The 6th June marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy and the beginning of the end of the Second World War. For one Irishman who had left the beaches of Dunkirk just a few years earlier, the return of allied soldiers to continental Europe must have been a special thing. On the night of the 31st May/1st June, Harold Marcus Ervine-Andrews, the county Cavan born son of a bank manager became the first British army soldier of that war to be awarded the Victoria Cross. His conspicuous bravery in engaging the advancing German troops helped to win time for the evacuation of beaten and demoralised soldiers from Dunkirk. This special cover, which he signed, was produced in 1990 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the successful evacuation of so many from the French beaches.

First Day Cover commemorating Harold Marcus Ervine-Andrews

First Day Cover commemorating Harold Marcus Ervine-Andrews

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.

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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