Post Offices

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXXII

The first Dublin newspaper was published in this century, by Robert Thornton, bookseller, at the sign of the Leather Bottle, in Skinner's-row, A.D. 1685. It consisted of a single leaf of small folio size, printed on both sides, and written in the form of a letter, each number being dated, and commencing with the word "sir."

The fashionable church was St. Michael's in High-street. It is described, in 1630, as "in good reparacion; and although most of the parishioners were recusants, it was commonly full of Protestants, who resorted thither every Sunday to hear divine service and sermon." This church had been erected originally for Catholic worship. Meanwhile the priests were obliged to say Mass wherever they could best conceal themselves; and in the reign of James I. their services were solemnized in certain back rooms in the houses of Nicholas Quietrot, Carye, and the Widow O'Hagan, in High-street.[2] Amongst the fashionables who lived in this locality we find the Countess of Roscommon, Sir P. Wemys, Sir Thady Duff, and Mark Quin, the Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1667.

Here, too, was established the first Dublin post-house, for which the nation appears to have been indebted indirectly to Shane O'Neill, of whose proceedings her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was anxious to be cognizant with as little delay as possible. In 1656, it having been found that the horses of the military, to whom postal communications had been confided previously, were "much wearied, and his Highness' affayres much prejudiced for want of a post-office to carry publique letters," Evan Vaughan was employed to arrange postal communications, and was made Deputy Postmaster. Major Swift was the Postmaster at Holyhead, and he was allowed £100 a-year for the maintenance of four boatmen, added to the packet boats, at the rate of 8d. per diem and 18s. per month for wages. Post-houses were established in the principal towns in Ireland about the year 1670, by means of which, for 8d. or 12d., letters could be conveyed, twice a week, to the "remotest parts of Ireland," and which afforded "the conveniency of keeping good correspondence."


[2] High-street.—Gilbert's Dublin, vol. i. p. 220.