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GPO centre 'will be built in time for anniversary'

EXHIBITION space, a sculpture garden and an 80-seater auditorium will all be built at Dublin's GPO in time to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising, TDs and senators have been told.

The interpretative centre project at the GPO is one of several major developments planned, at a cost of €22m to the Government.

Other projects at the National Archives, National Concert Hall, Kilmainham Courthouse and Gaol, Richmond Barracks and the Military Archives are also being progressed, the All Party Advisory Group on Commemorations has been told.

The GPO interpretative centre will be the most important of these and will contain between 200 and 300 square metres of exhibitions space.

According to minutes seen by the Irish Independent, An Post briefed the all party group that the centre was on target to open in early 2016. As well as the exhibition space, sculpture garden and auditorium, it is also considering building a classroom with teaching space for school-age visitors.

Tour guides

A steering committee, including representatives of the National Museum and the National Archives, is involved in the project.

Meanwhile, construction work to develop Kilmainham Courthouse into a visitor centre will begin in November and will take 13 months to complete, the Office of Public Works (OPW) briefed the consultation group.

However, it said financial constraints would "impinge" on the recruitment of additional tour guides for the gaol.

Failte Ireland told the consultation group that the story of 1916 would be difficult to market to visitors on its own. They plan developing an 'Independence Trail' to tell the wider story of Ireland's journey to independence, along with Ireland's association with the independence stories for France and the USA. It plans to deliver maps, panels and signboards in consultation with Dublin City Council and the OPW.

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