The GPO 1916
By the end of Easter week Dublin’s GPO was just a smouldering shell and it was clear that a new sorting office had to be urgently found. The Rotunda Rink, a large steel and wooden structure within what was Rutland Square Gardens, was officially requisitioned by the Postmaster General and immediately fitted out as a temporary sorting office. When Mrs Norway, wife of the Post Office Secretary, visited it, she was highly impressed with the industry of the staff; ‘a regular hive of bees’, she observed, with no postal fittings but what they ‘had contrived for themselves out of seats, benches and old scenery’. Remarkably, just three days after the end of hostilities, the GPO’s physical infrastructure had been reorganised and two daily postal deliveries reinstated in Dublin.
The resumption of routine postal work was a sign that Dublin had returned to some kind of normality and the part played by GPO staff in achieving this so quickly was appreciated. It took a little longer to regularise the Department’s use of the Rotunda’s premises but the following year an indenture was signed with the Governors. The Postmaster General agreed to pay £235 and carry on postal business in a manner which would do no injury to the health and comfort of the Rotunda’s patients. As so often happens, what had been set up as emergency sorting accommodation put down roots and might still be there, indeed, but for the fact that it was destroyed by antiTreaty troops in November 1922.