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

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.

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

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

Water, water everywhere – Rates bill for Cork post office 1859 – Image of the Month January 2014

Cork PO Water rates bill

With a good deal of rain over the last month, flooding in parts of the country and water meters gradually being introduced, here is a nice little item from our archives, a water rates bill for Cork Post Office in 1859. At least it shows that paying for water is by no means a new idea and that the convenience of piped water has long been appreciated as something worth paying for.

The postage stamp and the personal touch

W1972 6p jpg

The last few weeks have been busy ones for the postage stamp. First introduced in 1840 to show that postage had been paid on a letter, this small rectangular piece of paper is particularly busy during Christmas and New Year.

Certainly, the introduction of email and text messages allows a wider range of options for communication but for many people, the humble stamp is still first choice to convey letters and messages of goodwill throughout the globe.

Apart from stamp design and the obvious attraction for collectors there is more importantly the personal touch associated with the stamp. There is the care and preparation that someone takes in putting pen to paper, the eager anticipation waiting for that envelope to drop through the letterbox and the knowledge that it has been handled by loved ones hands – modern technology has its place but it doesn’t offer this!

Postage stamps – printing and production

For those who still write letters, finding a stamp will probably mean a trip to the local post office and, more often than not nowadays, what will be sold to them will be a little label that is printed off by the clerk at the counter. The system is convenient in many respects and offers advantages to the Post Office but, for older customers and the traditional stamp collector, it certainly marks a change in the way in which stamps are produced and made available to the public. It is probably a good time, consequently, to recall something of the specialist printing work that went into the production of Irish stamps over the years and at the Irish national stamp exhibition, STAMPA, the An Post Museum & Archive will have some archive sheets on display this weekend.

Sir Rowland Hill 17p - 1979jpg

Understanding and using the different printing techniques and processes, from traditional letter-press or typography to photogravure and offset lithography, calls for specialist knowledge and making stamps requires the collaboration of many different people. Artists and engravers, printers and IT people all contribute to the stamp and along the way they need to draw on others who know about paper and gums as well.

The STAMPA 2013 exhibition is on at the RDS (Anglesea Road entrance) from Friday the 18th to Sunday the 20th October and is open from 11am to 6pm daily. Admission is €5 for adults and €2 for children.

RMS Leinster 1918

RMS Lenister 1911 1

This weekend we remember all those, including the postal staff, who died when the mail boat, Leinster, was sunk on the 10th October 1918 not far out from Dun Laoghaire. Some 500 people died in the tragedy. There is a memorial plaque in our Museum and in the post office in Dun Laoghaire too.

Union membership dues – Dublin September 1913

contributions

This union contribution book shows the payment of regular membership dues by means of stamps stuck into the book. What’s particularly interesting about it is the hand-written annotation showing that the member, Richard Dunne, a merchant seaman who was affected by the 1913 Lock-out has been allowed eight weeks’ membership without payment. This, and the original 1913 Proclamation, banning the famous Jim Larkin meeting outside the GPO in the 31st August 1913, are currently on display in our museum in the GPO.