GPO Witness History Museum is an immersive, interactive and engaging experience telling the story of the 1916 Easter Rising and Modern Irish History
GPO Witness History is a permanent visitor attraction located within the historic GPO (General Post Office) building on O’Connell Street, Dublin. The experience is one of the newest Dublin Museums and it is one of the top attractions to explore. Free audio guides available in six different languages, subject to availability.
This highly immersive and engaging exhibition puts you right inside the GPO during Easter Week in 1916
History will come to life as you experience events from both sides of the conflict and through the eyes of bystanders caught in the crossfire through electronic touch screens, video, audio visual booths, sound and authentic artefacts – many previously unseen.
You will be immersed in the action as you compose newspaper reports, examine the original copy of the Proclamation and send Morse code to declare the Irish Republic by radio.
After the exhibition relax and reflect in the café overlooking the courtyard and browse our retail store. The courtyard is also home to a commissioned sculpture called ‘They are of us all’, commemorating the forty children who died during the Easter Rising.
The General Post Office is the centrepiece of Dublin’s grandest ceremonial street – O’Connell Street.The GPO was designed by Francis Johnston in 1814. He wanted to build a handsome, distinguished building that would cater for postal business and customers, add to Dublin’s architectural beauty and emphasise the important role of the Post Office in Irish life.
There was a fine public office at the front, a courtyard for the mail coaches at the back and an imposing façade complete with classical columns and statues on the roof. Since then, the layout of the building has changed many times and everything except the front was destroyed during the 1916 Rising.
Today, the GPO continues to hold a unique place in the hearts of Irish people. Considering all that it has witnessed, it is truly remarkable that this building retains its original function two centuries on.
The GPO and the 1916 rising
The events of Easter Week shaped this country’s history and the GPO was at the centre of it all.
Just after midday on Easter Monday 1916, a band of rebels stormed the GPO. They ordered staff and customers to leave and seized control of the building, making it their headquarters during the fierce fighting of Easter Week.
Ireland was declared a sovereign nation on the front steps of the GPO when rebel leader Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of Independence on Easter Monday.
In the face of considerable military opposition, the rebels held the GPO for almost a week. With the building on fire and crumbling, the rebels tunnelled through the walls of neighbouring buildings and retreated to nearby Moore Street. On Saturday, Pearse, realising the futility of further fighting, took the decision to surrender.
The historic and tumultuous Easter Rising set into motion an unstoppable chain of events which would ultimately lead to the creation of the Irish Republic.
GPO Witness History features the first ever permanent exhibition on the Irish flag to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the first flying of the Irish Tricolour.
This exhibition includes details on the history of the flag, Thomas F. Meagher – who first flew it at 33 The Mall in Waterford in 1848, and also information on the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation which promotes pride in and respect for the Irish flag and active citizenship.
The flag was originally given to Thomas F. Meagher in 1848 by French women who were sympathetic to the Irish cause.
During the 1916 Easter Rising the green, white and orange flag was hoisted aloft at the GPO on Easter Monday as a signal of both national freedom and unity.
Our national flag is an emblem of peace and as Thomas F. Meagher stated in 1848 “The White in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the Orange and the Green, and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped, in generous and heroic brotherhood”
At the award winning GPO Witness History visitors also learn about modern Irish History including the 1916 Easter Rising. History is brought to life through electronic touch screens, video, audio visual booths, sound and authentic artefacts.
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