Ballinalee postman’s 40 year service to An Post honoured at GPO Museum

One of north Longford’s favourite postmen, the late Mattie Fox from Ballinalee has been honoured for his contribution to the postal services with a place on a special hall of fame which is part of a new GPO Museum in Dublin.

One of north Longford’s favourite postmen, the late Mattie Fox from Ballinalee has been honoured for his contribution to the postal services with a place on a special hall of fame which is part of a new GPO Museum in Dublin.

Mattie Fox was very well known in the area and was chosen by museum staff because of his contribution not just to the service but also because of the important role that he played in rural life. The tribute to Mr Fox at the Museum includes a photograph of him in his postman’s uniform beside his trusty bicycle and a small sample of his wonderful poetry which was later published locally in ‘Memories of a Postman’.

“There are things in life I may forget, There are friendships I may sever, But the folks I met while on the Post, No! Never, Never, Never” , Mr Fox wrote after a career in the postal services that span the best part of forty years.

“Mattie was one of the people picked to feature in our museum here in the GPO because he looks such a contented man and, from his verse, loved his job as a postman.” Stephen Ferguson, Assistant Secretary & Museum Curator told the Leader this week. “The museum is small but we are very pleased with it and would be delighted to welcome readers of the Longford Leader to the GPO.

“The late Mr Fox spent forty years as a rural postman on the Bunlahy to Gelsha route in Co Longford. His career spanned from 1938 to 1983 and was typical of so many others who devoted their working lives to the service of small close-knit communities throughout Ireland.  With a face that seems to radiate contentment, Mattie could turn his hand to a bit of verse and when he retired in February 1983, he wrote the lines quoted which are now on display at the museum.”

Also on display is an archive of Irish postage stamps dating right back to the 1800s and it is also noted that before cheap postage was introduced around 1840, the Post Office in Ireland mainly served the wealthy, the educated and the State. “The service maintained a precious link with emigrants, helped people save and send money and brought the wonders of the telegraph and later the telephone to isolated, rural communities,” Mr Ferguson added further. “By the mid twentieth century, the friendly postmistress and the weather-beaten postman were firmly established as the State’s caring face within local communities. Preserving this tradition of service, whilst making use of the best that modern technology can offer, is An Post’s aim today.”

The GPO’s Museum which has now firmly established its local links is well worth a visit. There is a nominal e2 entrance charge with free guided tour for groups of 10 or more. Log onto www.gpo.ie for more details.