Sunday 19 November 2017

1916 and all that ... GPO anniversary opens window on past

O’Connell Street and the GPO in the early 1950s.
O’Connell Street and the GPO in the early 1950s.
Telegram motorbike boys in 1945.

John Spain

Snapshots in a new book on the GPO give a fascinating window into the Dublin of yesteryear.

Amongst the evocative photographs from the 1940s and '50s in 'The GPO - Two Hundred Years of History', due to be published this week, is a street scene of hustle and bustle of O'Connell Street.

Women can be spotted strolling past the old CIE Passenger Enquiries booth in the centre as they sported the fashionable Lauren Bacall dresses and hairstyles of the time.

Author Stephen Ferguson, who is assistant secretary of An Post, says that the GPO is special because so many postal buildings in other countries which were once the pride of their cities have been sold and turned to other purposes.

"For me, the GPO is remarkable not just for the special place it holds in Irish history and for its handsome architecture but for the fact that - after two centuries - it continues successfully to fulfil its original purpose as the headquarters of the Irish Post Office," says Mr Ferguson.

For most Irish people the GPO is associated with the 1916 Rising, but the building is, in fact, 200 years old this month, and has a rich history that goes back another century.

Work began on constructing a new General Post Office building in what was then Sackville Street as early as August 1814.

Irish Independent

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