Schooldays.ie - Ireland's Online Resource for Parents & Teachers

Parenting & Education in Ireland

GPO Witness History




GPO Witness History offers engaging and educational tours to students of all ages. Educational visits are linked to the Primary SESE curriculum and both the Junior and Senior History curricula. A school tour takes students behind the historic façade of the GPO and an immersive movie allows students to experience what it was like to be in the GPO and Dublin during Easter Week 1916, this most tumultuous time in Irish History. As the visitor centre examines modern Irish History up to the present day, students have the opportunity to reflect on how the events of the 1916 Easter Rising, War of Independence, Irish Civil War and the “Troubles” have shaped Ireland over the past 100 years.

GPO Witness History places particular emphasis on those who witnessed the events of Easter Week; the rebels, crown forces, the GPO workers and the by-standers and it is their stories that are at the heart of the narrative. In addition, as the students investigate the actions taken by these witnesses they develop historical empathy as they consider the context of the time the witnesses lived in.
Students are encouraged to think about the causes and consequences of the 1916 Easter Rising, War of Independence, Irish Civil War and the “Troubles” and also to ask the question “who owns history?”

The turbulent period of the 1960s to the 1990s, known as the “Troubles” is examined as well as the Peace Process which highlights that everyone’s view should be respected and heard in a dignified way, thus reinforcing the new broader inclusive definition of Irishness. The judges for the European Museum Academy Awards acknowledged GPO Witness History as a centre of peace and reconciliation and said that it demonstrates how highly controversial events can be interpreted in ways that encourage social and political cohesion and understanding.

Throughout their visit, students take on the role of historians as they examine the various sources that are used to tell the narrative. Students are encouraged to evaluate the usefulness and limitations of the different forms of evidence; sources include witness statements, original artefacts, audio and secondary sources. A handling collection allows students to engage with various artefacts which brings the history of the period to life.

After their guided tour, students will have the opportunity to explore the exhibition themselves and engage with activities such as using interactive maps to route military dispatches from the GPO to St. Stephen’s Green and to use morse code to proclaim the Irish Republic.

New this year: The visitor centre is delighted to partner with the Thomas Francis Meagher Foundation to launch the first permanent exhibition on the Irish Tricolour. It is fitting that GPO Witness History was chosen as the venue to house this new exhibition as it was at the GPO on Easter Monday, 24th April 1916 that the Irish Tricolour was flown for the first time in Dublin.


Tour Duration: 1 hour.

Tours can be adapted to meet your classes’ specific needs.

Cost: €5.50 per student.

Tours available in Irish and English

Booking is essential and can be made by contacting Central Reservations at info@gpowitnesshistory.ie or telephone 01 8721916



For more information visit www.gpowitnesshistory.ie.
GPO Witness History, GPO, O’Connell Street Lower, Dublin 1,
Education Manager: Ann-Marie Smith; smitha@shannonheritage.com

*Image Courtesy of the GPO Witness History