General Post Office (GPO)

General Post Office (GPO)

GPO and Sackville Street
The General Post Office (GPO), is the headquarters of the Irish postal service. The offices were first located at College Green, but in August 1814, construction of a purpose-built headquarters began. The building was completed in January 1818, costing £50,000.

Five members of the Provisional Government were located at the GPO during the Rising — Pearse, Connolly, Clarke, MacDiarmada and Plunkett — in a 350-strong garrison which also included Cumann na mBan and Irish Citizen Army members. James Connolly was in charge of the defence of the GPO and directed operations. The GPO garrison barricaded surrounding streets and occupied adjoining buildings.

On Monday afternoon the garrison repulsed a cavalry attack while with the breakdown of law and order, many of the stores in Sackville Street were looted. From Wednesday, the GPO and other buildings in Sackville Street came under artillery fire, mostly from the Helga gunboat at anchor in the Liffey. Connolly had believed the British would not use artillery in city areas. By Friday night the GPO was on fire, at which point it was evacuated.

At a Dublin Corporation meeting in 1884 a motion was called to change the name of Sackville Street to O’Connell Street. Forty years of argument later, it was changed to O’Connell Street, in May 1924.
According to An Post: “The statues on the roof are of Hibernia, a classical representation in female form of the island of Ireland, with Fidelity to one side and Mercury (the messenger of the gods) to the other.”

During the 1916 Rising, the GPO was destroyed but from 1925 was rebuilt and reopened in 1929.