In this gallery, we see some of Carndonagh’s postmen of years gone by, as well as a few of the ladies from the telephone exchange.
The men and women of the post office have been central figures in rural Irish communities since the foundation of the state, and long before that. From informal 16th-century mail delivery to the establishment of the Irish General Post Office in 1784, the postal system marked a vital channel for communication. Following the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the Department of Posts and Telegraphs was set up in 1924, eventually evolving into An Post in the 1980s.
As the century progressed, telegraph services led to the introduction of automation technologies in the 1950s, but it was not until the 1980s that exchanges in rural towns such as Carndonagh became automated.
One of the earlier post offices in Carndonagh was located in Chapel Street, with Michael Harkin acting as Postmaster until 1885. ‘Slater’s Directory’ records 1893 Joseph Devers as postmaster in 1893, and Maud Devers as postmistress in 1918.There were several sites for the post office in Carndonagh over the years: Bridge Street from 1940, as well as the Diamond, Pound Street, Bridge Street and Church Road. Owen Mc Guinness was the last postmaster in Bridge Street before the office moved to the current site at G&S Doherty’s Supermarket, Church Road, with John Mc Guinness as postmaster.
While images of mail coaches, local sorting offices and uniformed gentlemen on bicycles delivering hand-written letters might now belong to a bygone era, postmen and women continue to play a vital role in rural Irish communities, especially at this time of year!