The GPO - General Post Office

The GPO is An Post’s largest Post Office and is situated right in the heart of Dublin city on O’Connell Street. It is a beautiful old building that played a big part in Ireland’s colourful history. It is also the headquarters of An Post.

The General Post Office Today

With huge pillars marking its entrance and three unique statues on top of the building: Mercury - the messenger of the gods, Hibernia who represents Ireland and Fidelity with her faithful hound who represents the trust a nation has in it’s postal service, the General Post Office is hard to miss.

Also known as the GPO, it has been in charge of all the other Post Offices of the postal service for nearly 200 years and has seen millions and millions of letters and parcels pass through its doors down through the years. Today, the GPO is still as busy as ever with lots of people working there to help you send your mail, manage your money and keep in touch with friends.

Next time you’re in Dublin city, why not pop in and say hello? Just look out for the giant pillars on this beautiful building and you will have found the GPO!

The General Post Office in 1916

In 1916, one of the most important events in Irish history happened when the GPO became the headquarters for the Easter Rising. At that time, Ireland and Britain were a United Kingdom but many Irish people believed Ireland should be in control of its own affairs and a few were prepared to fight for Irish independence.

On Easter Monday 1916, Irish rebels led by Padraig Pearse, occupied the GPO and used it as their base. Pearse himself read the Proclamation of Independence to onlookers in the street and, from the front of the GPO, declared Ireland a Republic.

After a quiet start, fighting grew fierce and lasted for almost a week during which much of Dublin's city centre was destroyed. The GPO itself suffered great damage and a fierce fire took hold inside the building making it impossible for the men and women inside to remain there. They tried to fight on in other buildings but it was an impossible task and Pearse decided to surrender.

While the Rising was a failure, it had a great influence on people and paved the way for Ireland to become independent a few years later. Interestingly enough, Post Office staff played an important part in the Rising, some helping the rebels and others just doing their best to keep communications working, and you can read more about them in a book called GPO Staff in 1916 - Business as Usual available from the GPO's philatelic shop.

Fun Fact

Fun Fact

Most Post Offices are in towns and villages but there was once a Post Office underwater! This Post Office was in the Bahama Islands near America. Imagine that, a Post Office underwater! We wonder did the fish help to deliver the mail?!

Activity

Activity

Calling all young artists! Using the stamp template that your teacher has given you, see if you can colour it in or even draw it all by yourself. When you’re finished, get your teacher to decorate the classroom with all your brightly coloured pictures to be admired by everyone who sees them.