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Glentane Post Office, Co Galway Essay

623 words - 3 pages

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Glentane Post Office

In addition to being an ‘Ale House’ and Store, Glentane had provided postal services for over a century before its closure in 1916. Prior to 1840, unaffordable postage had meant that the postal service, such as it was, served only the landed classes. Perhaps in part due to the number of ‘big houses’ in the area, as well as its advantageous position on the then main Dublin to Galway road, Glentane held postal duties decades before most large towns and before the establishment of the formal postal service. Within the ‘Revenue of Ireland’ records of the Crown, details of the licences issued for ‘letting out horses to travel post in Ireland’ confirm that it was on August 20th 1806 that Glentane took on it first postal functions.

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The daring robbery of the Dublin to Galway mail-coach at Glentane in 1820 does not ...view middle of the document...

- Every person hiring horses to travel post shall pay for each horse 1 d per mile or 1 s 9 d per day where the distance shall not be ascertained.
- Every person keeping a diligence post coach or carriage for carrying only four inside passengers for hire or any stage coach shall pay annually 5 s for a license and shall also pay 1 d for every mile such carriage shall travel.
- Persons letting out horses to travel post without a license are to forfeit 10 l and no person shall keep more than one inn for letting horses on pain of 20 l.
- Licensed inn keepers shall paint ‘licensed to let post horses’ on the fronts of their houses before they let horses to hire on pain of 5 l.
- Inn-keepers who furnish carriages to travel post shall affix their names and their places of abode on some conspicuous part thereof on pain of 5 l.

With increased literacy and the introduction of uniform penny postage in 1840, the post service became something open to everyone. From the 1850’s, the various Almanacs and Directories confirm that James A Butler was now the Postmaster of ‘Glantane Post Office’, replacing the McDonough-Wade family. The records also noted the postal schedule with the mail car arriving from Dublin each day at 6:30am and with the mail dispatched from Glentane each day at 7:30pm.

The services available expanded during the Victorian era and the post office became the principal administrative arm of government. It also maintained a crucial link with emigrants as well as helping people save money. Glentane Post Office was raised in a positive light in the House of Commons in 1913 when John Roche M.P. asked the Postmaster-General, whether he was aware of the delay “caused by the Duke de Stackpoole's letters being sent through Ballymacward instead of Glentane”. Alas, whatever the modest time saving, the introduction of motor car was making the country ‘smaller’ and would be the death knell for many village post offices. Glentane P.O. shut its doors on January 8th 1916.

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