An Post’s new GPO Witness History Visitor Centre was opened by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, today as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme
The new immersive visitor attraction is one of the State’s permanent 2016 ‘Reminder’ projects for which the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht provided funds of €7 million towards construction and fit out in the GPO’s eastern inner courtyard. An Post provided a further €3m for initial enabling works such as cleaning and repairing facades, advance planning and marketing of the new Centre.
An Post GPO Witness History is an immersive, interactive visitor attraction bringing history to life though technology, video, sound and authentic artefacts. Its special effects, soundscapes and heartfelt stories of real people in extraordinary circumstances will captivate all age-groups – from the curious, young international visitor to the well-informed history buff – there’s plenty to interest and engage individuals, families and touring groups.
At the opening of the new visitor centre, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “As the volunteer headquarters during the Easter Rising and focal point of the British counterattack, there is perhaps no more iconic landmark in the country that so poignantly reflects the courage and determination of those brave men and women who came out that Easter to challenge the greatest empire in the world. I am delighted to be able to announce the opening of An Post GPO Witness History. This amazing new exhibition will give visitors a real sense of what it was like to be in the General Post Office and Dublin a century ago and to reflect on how those days shaped Ireland over the following 100 years.”
Minister Humphreys said: “This permanent, immersive visitor attraction is one of our flagship projects as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. You can step behind the historic facade of the GPO, where history is brought to life through a range of interactive displays. Witness History tells both sides of the story and allows visitors to explore what life was like in 1916. This new attraction will be a fantastic addition to Dublin’s bustling tourism sector, enhancing the city’s heritage offering for locals and visitors alike. I am sure GPO Witness History will also prove very popular with school groups, who are more engaged with our history than ever before, in this centenary year.”
The centre-piece of the exhibition area is an immersive, audiovisual experience which puts visitors right at the heart of the events of Easter Week, when the GPO was both the Rebels’ military command centre and the seat of the Provisional Irish Government.
An Post has appointed Shannon Heritage, who run many of Ireland’s top visitor attractions to operate and manage the new Centre.
The courtyard area also features a specially commissioned memorial to the 40 children killed by gunfire during Easter Week 1916. Entitled ‘They are Of Us All’, it was created by internationally renowned Dublin artist, Barbara Knezevic using polished steel and 40 pieces of black limestone which came from the ruins of Jacobs biscuit factory. Each stone represents a child.
GPO Witness History will open every day from 09.00 – 17.30. Entrance is through the main GPO Public Post Office. Adult admission is €10, Child €5. Family tickets are priced from €25 and a range of discounts are available for Groups, Seniors and Students. GPO Witness History has disabled lift access and toilet facilities.
Advance booking advised at www.gpowitnesshistory.ie and Tel: 00353 1 816 9538.