Postage stamps can be hard to find in Dublin, and usually one is directed to the General Post-office (GPO) in the centre of O'Connell Street, where stamps can be bought directly over the counter during business hours, including Saturdays, and also through a stamp vending machine in the wall on the left, outside the GPO.
Viewed from the outside this is a truly landmark historic building, featuring a wide portico supported by six huge columns, built in the neoclassical style; the GPO was completed in the short space of three years, in 1817. This is also where, on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, the rebel leader, Padraig Pearse, read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, on the steps of the GPO, which was occupied by the rebellion leaders at the time.
We visited on a Saturday, when the normally heaving PO was less busy. On entering there was the option of going left to the package delivery section, and to the more ornate right side for stamps, and money orders etc. We had a small enquiry about mail pick-up and respectfully posed the simple question to the gentleman behind the counter on the left; well, the words “passive aggressive” were designed for this individual – just glad there was a wire mesh between us. However, we did purchase some just released pretty stamps, commemorating famous Irish Women and also a set that celebrates Love – a heady mix.
Some light relief came from a very well-informed tour guide giving a history of the GPO and the Irish-English conflict back in the early 1900s, suffice to say Mr Churchill was not one of his heroes. Also, there was the charming scene of a mother showing her kids the statue of Cuchullain, the mythical Irish demigod, in the window. This impressive bronze monument depicts the death this Irish legend, installed in 2016, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Next time we plan to visit the the Witness History visitor centre and museum, also opened to commemorate the 1916 Rising.
Overall a beautiful fully operational post office in a historic setting and a fitting memorial to the 1916 leaders.