Dublin's General Post Office
A most distinguished Postal Headquarters!
Dublin’s G.P.O. is one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished postal headquarters.
It is the administrative centre of An Post, the Irish Post Office, and one of the city’s architectural highlights.
The foundation stone was laid by the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Whitworth, on the 12th August 1814 and the building, completed at a cost of £50,000, was open for business under four years later on the 6th January 1818.
Designed by Francis Johnston, the Armagh-born architect of the Board of Works, it is a severely classical building of Greek revival style and comprises a long three-storey façade with a central pedimented portico. Built of Wicklow granite with a portico of Portland stone, the building was originally just over 220 feet long, 150 deep and rose 50 feet to the top of the cornice. Six Ionic columns support the central portico which spans the pavement in front of the Post Office. A balustrade tops the façade and three fine, symbolic statues by John Smyth survey the street from their commanding position above the pediment. Hibernia, with her harp, stands proudly in the centre with Fidelity, the cardinal virtue of any postal service, on her left and Mercury, the winged messenger of the gods, on her right.
Rising from the Ashes:
Even before its destruction on 1916, the G.P.O. had undergone several modifications necessitated by changes in the postal business. Just weeks, indeed, before the 1916 Rising, extensive work had been completed on the Public Office.
After the fires and bombardment of Easter Week only the shell of the building was left intact and consideration was given to relocating. In the event, it was decided to rebuild and extend the G.P.O. on its existing site and to retain the walls of the original building.
Formally reopened in 1929, periodic restoration work has been carried out, both externally and internally, since then and the building today remains the architectural and symbolic centre-piece of O’Connell Street.
|If you wish to read more about the the history of the G.P.O. Stephen Ferguson's book 'At the Heart of Events' is available on sale in the G.P.O and online from (new window) An Post’s Philatelic Bureau.