Work will begin next month on the General Post Office (GPO) interpret
ative centre, the centrepiece for the Easter Rising centenary commemorations.
Contracts were signed last week with builders PJ Hegarty in relation to the €7.8 million project. The interpretative centre will be 1,650sq m (17,760 sq ft) in size and is expected to attract 300,000 visitors a year.
It will be located in the courtyard which has been out of bounds to the public since the GPO was rebuilt after the 1916 Rising.
The courtyard is at basement level. The main construction piece will be a new podium which will form a large gallery area.
The exhibition gallery will tell the story of the Rising chronologically with exact details yet to be decided. The theme will be ‘The GPO as Witness to History’.
Also central to the project will be a sculptured garden which will include a specific memorial to the children killed during the Rising.
The courtyard restoration work is almost complete, which will allow for the general building works to begin.
It is due to be completed by October next year.
The Government is spending €22 million as part of the decade of centenaries which will include the refurbishment of Kilmainham Courthouse and Richmond Barracks.
The contract to design the GPO interpretative centre was won by Dublin architects Kavanagh Tuite.
Architect Brian Kavanagh said they had been working with An Post for the past 30 years to try to make better use of one of Dublin's best known buildings.
“We wanted to turn the whole building into active use. There was a poor level of public engagement with the GPO,” he said.
Mr Kavanagh said everything was on schedule. “This will be built on time. All the milestones for the construction are being met.”
The interpretative centre is due to open on Easter Sunday, March 27th, 2016. However, this is almost a month before the centenary of the Rising itself which started on Monday, April 25th, 1916.
Traditionally, Easter Rising commemorations take place at Easter irrespective of when that falls.