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From 1777, the planning body in the city, the Wide Streets Commission, completed Gardiner’s plan. For the next 10 years they demolished buildings and streets, extending the wide roadway to the Liffey and building new terraces. They demolished the houses on the west side of Drogheda Street, creating the wide thoroughfare which was called Sackville Street upon completion between 1785–1790.

The foundation-stone of the new purpose-built post-office, the GPO, was laid on 12 August 1814, attended by the Post-Masters-General, Charles O'Neill, 1st Earl O'Neill and Laurence Parsons, 2nd Earl of Rosse. The structure was completed in the space of three years for the sum of £50,000. It was opened in 1818. An important building in Dublin city, it features on several engravings and photographs of the 19th century. 

As one of the most prominent public buildings in the city, the GPO was chosen to serve as the headquarters of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. On Easter Monday, April 24th 1916, the GPO building (among others)was taken over by the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citzen’s Army led by Padraig Pearse and James Connolly. The British authorities reacted fast and, by the 28th April, the rebels were facing 18,000 to 20,000 soldiers.

From Thursday 27th April, the GPO was entirely cut off from the other rebel garrisons around the city. Next day it came under a ferocious artillery attack which also devastated much of central Dublin. This compelled the rebel leaders based at the GPO to evacuate the building on Friday morning, taking shelter in Moore Street from where they eventually decided to surrender. From accounts, it would seem that the army was unaware that the insurgents had left the building during Friday and the attack on the GPO continued. By the night of Friday, 28th April, the GPO was nothing more than a shell and the facade was all that remained of the original building. Eventually, in the late 1920s, the GPO was completely remodelled and rebuilt by the Commissioners of Public Works under the Irish Free State.



 

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Judith Carroll & Co Ltd
Archaeological Consultants
Ballybrack Road 
Glencullen
Dublin 18 

Tel: 01 6705067
Mobile: 087-9968819/ 087-3810933
Email: info@judithcarrollandco.ie
Website: www.judithcarrollandco.ie


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