General Post Office
Situated in the heart of Dublin, the General Post office is one of the most historical sites in Dublin. Years ago with no telecommunication and social networking, the post was the only way to keep in touch and connect with each other. In the later 16th and early 17th century the Post Office adapted to life and expanded its services: telephone, banking and telegraph.
Before 1840, the Post Office served State itself and mainly wealthy people, but as the railway service grew, and there were more demand for education and increased interest in literacy, the post became accessible and used by all. In the 1916 Rising it was occupied by British and paid a big role into freedom. Even today, if you come close to the beautiful building, you can see the bullet holes, a reminder of Irish way to freedom. For more than two centuries, it has been headquarters of the Irish Post Office and it successfully operates today and is a big and unique part of everyday Irish life. Today An Post is one of the biggest companies in Ireland employing over 10 000 staff.
Visit General Post Office
For anyone visiting Dublin for the first time, the General Post Office is without doubt, a place you must visit. The post office is packed with symbolism from ages gone. Not only is the post office a majestic and beautiful building but its location on O’Connell Street also makes it a main thoroughfare for Dubliners. The building is in fact, a reminder of the 1916 Easter Rising. This building is arguably, the most famous building in Ireland. It is inspired by Georgian architecture, perhaps the last product of it, and its grand scale has made it a famous attraction for tourists.
If you enjoy the architecture, the scale and the ambiance of buildings of the Georgian era, and if you are an aficionado of Irish History, and you are looking for things to do in Dublin, then this post office is a site you have to go to! This place is a must-visit for all those readers of history who have been drawn towards the nationalist movement in Ireland and the war that ensued at the start of the twentieth century.
Francis Johnston designed this magnificent building in the fashion of the Georgian Era. This was early nineteenth century, and it is remarkable how well thee building has held up. The plans were brought to completion by Lord Lieutenant of Ireland: Charles Whitworth. He was the first Earl of Whitworth. The building was completed on 12 August 1814. This day, the opening ceremony was attended by some prominent figures, like the Post-Master General, and the First Earl O’Neill and the Second Earl of Rosse. Ever since that day, the building has never failed to serve as the General Post Office. It was constructed within three years and the total cost of thee construction cam out to be a mere 50,000 to 80,000 pounds.
History of the GPO
The GPO has an interesting history, but the pinnacle of its political and social influences was the 1916 Easter Rising. The building was the focal point of that rising. During the course of the uprising, the GPO was completely burnt down save for the granite facade. It was rebuilt in 1929. The museum within the GPO also displays a copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Perhaps the most historic day for the GPO was when Patrick Pearse, the resistance during the Easter Rebellion delivered a dramatic proclamation in the form of a speech, announcing the Ireland was free from foreign rule. Interestingly, Pearse, and his companions proceeded to the bar inside the GPO to celebrate that day.
The building has, ever since the rebellion, remained a symbol of Irish Nationalism. Also, in commemoration of the rebellion, a statue was installed at the command post in the very center of the main hall inside GPO. This is a statue of Cuchulainn, a mythical hero, done by Oliver Sheppard in 1911.
General Post Office Architecture
The General Post Office also packs a surprise for all the architects of the world and all the architecture aficionados. It was designed along the lines of Greek Revival Style as becomes evident with the imposing front façade and the six majestic pillars, holding that portico in place. It is a marvel how well this building has stood against the trials of time. It is about two centuries old. The front extends 67 meters with the tell-tale and iconic portico from its era. The portico itself extends 24.4 meters, and it imparts the most magnificent of face to this building. It is an interesting fact, that the frieze of the entablature, used to feature a store room. It was here that all the royal arms were kept. However, with the restoration of 1920, the arms were removed. With sites like these, enthusiasts will never run out of things to do in Dublin.
Another eye-catching feature of the architecture are the three imposing statues at the top. One at the center and 2 at the edges of the portico. All three statues were made by John Smyth. The statue on the left is Mercury who is holding both his purse and Caduceus. On the right, the statue is Fidelity with a hound at her feet. However, she is seen holding a key in her right hand. It is unsure whether the statue is of Hecate or fidelity. The central statue features Hibernia, who is holding both her spear and her harp. The reason why this building has maintained its strength and why it has survived two centuries is because the main building is built with mountain granite.
The General Post Office not only maintains its original role with ease, it also features the “GPO Witness History” visitor attraction. It is an exhibition of sorts, and it is designed to be high tech and highly interactive. A mixture of displays, touch screens and artefacts will give visitors a highly immersive look at the history of the GPO. It is surprising that on usual days, General Post Office hosts a mixture of Post Office employees and tourists mingling with each other.
There was a small museum in the GPO, and it is titles “Letters, Lives and Liberty.” As the name insinuates, the theme of the museum was remembrance of Easter Rising and its significance in Irish History. This museum also held the original declaration of independence which was read by Patrick Pearse. However, it was replaced with the new GPO Witness History Exhibit.