Holding a special place in Irish history the General Post Office, more commonly known as the GPO, is located right in the heart of Dublin and is one of the city’s top attractions. Its Georgian exterior dominates O’Connell street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare, and it was the focal point of the 1916 Easter Rising. Check out our guide to this well known landmark, with details on its history, how to get here and more.
On the 6th of January 1818, the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street opened for business after four years of construction at the cost of around 50,000 Irish pounds. It was designed by a County Armagh man, Francis Johnston, and the building itself is of Greek revival style standing three stories high with a centre portico. The primary material used in the structure is Wicklow granite, from the Wicklow Mountains, and the central portico is held up by six pillars made form Portland stone.
On Easter Monday in 1916 the GPO became a symbol of Ireland’s fight for independence.
Members of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizens Army, lead by Padraig Pearse and James Connolly, took over the post office just after the Proclamation of Ireland was read out and displayed outside the building that afternoon. The Proclamation claimed that Ireland had became a Republic and gained its independence from Britain. The GPO was chosen because it was in the city centre and was the communication centre of Ireland
To make an impact the leaders of the rebellion hoisted the Irish tricolour on top of the GPO. The opposition revolted and destroyed the building. Following their surrender Padraig Pearse and James Connolly were executed in Kilmainham Gaol, now a designated National Monument, along with the other leaders who signed the Proclamation. Have a look at our Kilmainham Gaol article.
Following Ireland’s independence, the GPO was reconstructed and reopened again for business in 1929, and it still remains the postal headquarters of Ireland. Walk in and have a look around – there’s a statue of the legendary Irish warrior Cuchulainn dedicated to those who fought in the Easter Rising as well as one of the original copies of the Proclamation. And something else to watch out for – check out the bullet holes that are still visible on the columns outside the GPO.
The General Post Office is located on O’Connell Street, surrounded by shops, pubs, restaurants and businesses and is now part of modern Dublin. The area has been given a complete and of course the towering construction that is The Spire can be seen from the steps of The GPO.
How to get here…
The GPO is just a 2 minute walk from the Abbey Street Luas stop. O’Connell St is very accessible by the many buses and taxis, which run to and from Heuston Station, Connolly Station, Dublin Airport as well as many other locations around the city. The many hop-on/ hop-off city tour buses also pull up outside the GPO.
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