General Post Office, Dublin (Irish Parliament)
Free Admission Tourist Attraction in Ireland #18
The GPO in Dublin is located on O'Connell street and is a matter of a few hundred yards from Trinity College, Grafton Street, Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral and the National Gallery of Ireland.
The GPO is the oldest working Post office in the world and is an impressive Georgian building that dates from 1818. It is most associated with the Easter Rising of 1916.
It is on the footsteps of the GPO that Padraig Pearse read aloud the ' Proclamation of the Irish Republic' to a startled Dublin citizenry. The week-long battle that followed all but destroyed not just the GPO but the inner city of Dublin itself. The Georgian facade of the GPO remained intact however and a new building was built around the old shell. An original copy of the 'Proclamation of the Irish Republic' is on permanent display inside the GPO where a small Museum is free to visit and educates all about the history of the building not just as a rebel stronghold but also as a fully functioning post office.
A famous statue of Cúchulainn is housed in the main foyer while the GPO is also the home to the Irish Philately community, so if stamp collecting is your passion then be sure to visit the separate side-room where stamp exhibits and 'first day covers' can be viewed and bought. Indeed, sending a few postcards from the GPO has become something of a tradition for visitors to Ireland.
The GPO can be very crowded at times so you may want to visit early in the morning to have a good look around. A visit to the Museum, a few photos, perhaps sending a few cards or buying a gift or two, should not take too long, maybe an hour or even less. But this is more than just another Museum-like artifact of Irish history to mark off your check-list. Although not in a geographic sense but perhaps in a psychological sense the GPO is the very centre of Ireland. It is from this space that a new nation at last began to emerge.
For many people the Ireland of their imagination is rolling hills, sheep blocking main street traffic, picture-postcard imagery of Sean Thornton hurtling across a field with Mary-Kate in his wake. But for those who love history the GPO is the place in Ireland where reverence is appropriate. It is akin to walking across the field at Gettysburg where Pickett's Charge marked the beginning of the end of the Southern Confederacy and from where the United States would never be the same. It is like visiting the Place de la Bastille in Paris, from where the French Revolution fermented and France would be forever changed.
The GPO represents the very heart and soul of the Irish nationalist movement. To the Irish the GPO in Dublin is a lot more than just a building.
Find out more here: http://www.anpost.ie/AnPost/History+and+Heritage/Home/
Video about General Post Office, Dublin
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