Dublin City Bike Tours
The General Post Office in Dublin is the headquarters of An Post, the Irish Post Office, and Dublin’s principal post office. Sited in the centre of O’Connell Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, it is one of Ireland’s most famous buildings, and was the last of the great Georgian public buildings erected in the capital.
The General Post Office in Ireland was first located in High Street in Dublin moving to Fishamble Street in 1689, to Sycamore Alley in 1709 and then in 1755 to Bardin’s Chocolate House on the site where the Commercial Buildings used to be (now the Central Bank building) off Dame Street. It was afterwards removed to a larger house opposite the Bank of Ireland building on College Green. On 6 January 1818, the new post-office in Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) was opened for business.
During the Easter Rising of 1916, the GPO served as the headquarters of the uprising’s leaders. It was from outside this building on the 24th of April 1916, that Patrick Pearse read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The building was destroyed by fire in the course of the rebellion, save for the granite facade, and not rebuilt until 1929, by the Irish Free State government. An original copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic was displayed in the museum at the GPO. The museum was closed at the end of May 2015 and replaced by a new visitor centre to commemorate the 1916 Rising, ‘GPO Witness History’, in March 2016. The building has remained a symbol of Irish nationalism. In commemoration of the Rising, a statue depicting the death of the mythical hero Cúchulainn sculpted by Oliver Sheppard in 1911 was sited at the command post in the centre of the GPO main hall and is now housed in the front of the building. The statue was featured on the Irish ten shilling coin of 1966, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Rising. Despite its fame as an iconic place of Irish freedom, ground rent for the GPO continued to be paid to English and American landlords until the 1980s.
The broadcasting studios of 2RN, which later became Radio Éireann, were located at the GPO from 1928 until 1974. Draws for Prize Bonds are held weekly, on Fridays, in the building.
Nelson’s Pillar was located in the centre of O’Connell Street adjacent to the GPO, until it was destroyed by Irish republicans in an explosion in 1966. The Spire of Dublin was erected on the site of the Pillar in 2003.