History & Culture - General Post Office (GPO)
The site on which the GPO is now built was initially made derelict in 1796 when three houses, which were being used as a temporary Barracks, collapsed. It wasn't until 1814 that the foundation stone for the GPO was laid. It wasn't until 1818 that the GPO opened for business.
The Former office for the GPO, which was situated in College Green, was sold for £11,000. The total cost for construction of the new building was £50,000. Constructed mainly of Granite, the GPO was the first custom built Post Office in Ireland. The Architectural style was Georgian with Greek Revival. The original plan was to build a dome on top of the GPO, but this never materialised. There are three statues on top of the GPO, Hibernia (representing Ireland), Mercury (The Messenger) and Fidelity.
During the 1916 rising, the GPO was chosen as the main location by the Irish Rebels. On Easter Monday, 24th April, 1916 the GPO was occupied by the revolutionary forces. Pardraig Pearse read the Proclamation of the Republic to a bemused gathering. The rebels seized 6 locations throughout Dublin, the GPO, the Four Courts, Boland's Mill, St. Stephen's Green, Jacobs Factory and the South Dublin Union. This latter failure severely restricted the Volunteers mans of communicating with each other.
A gun-ship, the Helga, arrived in Dublin and field-guns were mounted on Trinity College. The effect of the continuous shelling of O’Connell St. virtually destroyed it and the surrounding areas. By Friday the GPO was engulfed in flames and Pearse gave the order to surrender. 450 people, many of whom were civilians, were dead with over 2500 wounded. The city was in ruins with the damage estimated at a massive 2 Million pounds.
Today, if you look closely you can still see the bullet holes on the GPO. For more information about the Irish Rising of 1916 please see: http://www.ireland-information.com/1916.txt