Launch of Lost Post: A Selection of Ireland’s Post Office Buildings

18th June 2012:  Renowned historian Thomas Pakenham visited DIT Bolton Street for the very first time on the occasion of the  launch of a fascinating new book by DIT lecturer in Architectural Technology, Máire Crean.  The book, Lost Post : A Selection of Ireland’s Post Office Buildings, takes a close look at the architecture and interiors of Post Office buildings around Ireland, highlighting not only the architecture of the exterior but also the interior detail, including exquisite floor mosaic, brass door furnishings, and counter grilles.

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Bernadette Solon, Conservation Architect; author Máire Crean; historian Thomas Pakenham; and President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton

Congratulating Máire Crean on the publication of her book, Bernadette Solon, Conservation Architect with Westmeath County Council, introduced Thomas Pakenham and reminded the audience of his publications on historical themes and on ‘remarkable trees’.  While he had not been able to find any connection with trees in Lost Post, Mr. Pakenham recounted several anecdotes from history that concerned the Irish Postal Service, including the effect of the burning of mail coaches on the success of the 1798 rebellion.  He also delighted in the fact that Anthony Trollope, one of his favourite authors, had been employed by the postal service in Ireland for some time, becoming notorious for attempting to root out dishonest behaviour among its staff.  Speaking about Lost Post, Pakenham said he found the book fascinating and he applauded the author for drawing attention to this particular architectural typology which, he said, was welcomed following as it did the classical ‘more insipid’ tradition.  He said the first step towards conservation is to make people aware of what you want to conserve and to highlight its value and the book does exactly that.

Formally launching the book, Mr. Pakenham said the only fault he had to find with it was in the title Lost Post – “Because thanks to Máire’s work, we’ve caught the Post!”

The launch was attended by colleagues from DIT, An Post, the Architectural Archive and the Department of the Environment, as well as by friends and members of the author’s extended family.

Bernadette Solon, Conservation Architect, reviews Crean’s book here:

How often do we visit a post office with the business of stamp buying, parcel posting, letter collection etc. on our minds and never look around us to see the craftsmanship of bygone times which went to construct these premises?  When do we take time to look closely at the doors, handles, counters, screens, tiling, mosaics, grilles or indeed the buildings themselves?  Maire Crean, in this book, brings us on a journey through a selection of some of the wonderful post office buildings scattered throughout Ireland - some unfortunately now demolished but many still in use and with little changes from the day they first opened their doors to the public.  She tells us of the history, layout, structure, and details of these buildings and encourages us to appreciate the craftsmanship which went to make these buildings.  So, next time you visit your post office take the time to look around you.  Take a closer look and most of all enjoy!!.”

The book is available at €20 – contact maire.crean@dit.ie

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Máire Crean, author of Lost Post: A Selection of Ireland’s Post Office Buildings, and DIT lecturer and graduate.

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Author Máire Crean with historian and author Thomas Pakenham, who launched her new book

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