Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My favourite letterbox in Dublin

Do you know where Palace Street in Dublin is? Walk down George's Street towards Dame Street. Take a left at The George. You're on Palace "Street", though it's hardly a street, is it? More of a continuation of Dame Lane, but who are we to argue with Google?

Go down there about half way towards the gates of Dublin Castle and have a look on the wall. There, on the right hand side, amid the street art and graffiti, you'll see a letterbox. This is my favourite letterbox in Dublin.

image shows a black postbox made of wood with a big lock on it, affixed to a wall where someone has chalked an envelope symbol pointing to it. On the box there's a website address and a sign saying Post an object that represents a memory, story or a piece of time here.

A view down Palace Street, Dublin with the postbox on the wall.

It's not often you'll get the opportunity to post a letter to God, a letter to the past or the future but here's a box that invites you to share a memory, thoughts or ideas that mean something to you. When I first noticed it in May , it was inviting letters to God - "your chance to give the big man a piece of your mind" - but it's since gone on to invite submissions on a variety of themes.

Dublin rarely disappoints. The submissions, though few (possibly owing to location) are quality reading, an insight into the person who stopped and stared, who fumbled in pockets for card, paper and pen and who thought about what they'd say.

scanned in note reading I just met someone like me who I'll never see again 7.15pm 2/5/08

"I just met someone like me who I'll never see again" reads one, while another to God reads "Where have you been all my life?" One of my personal favourites, as below, is "My eyes are CDs and my mind is the player." Another reads "Why did you make lemmings only to run them off cliffs?"

scanned in note reading My eyes are CDs and my mind is the player

The MySpace page that the address on the box leads to gives more details. It's part of an interactive street art project where the letters will be used as inspiration for the work of the owner as an artist. Some letters of the series are also published in the Baby BEEF fanzine, a zine for art, creativity and freedom of expression, which was, apparently :

born part out of frustration against the 'stook up its own ass' art world and out of the urge to just create something fun and give everybody a chance to get their work out there.
You can check out the albums for the letterbox on their MySpace here. Below are the ones that I really like:

postcard reading A letter to Sophia Prenderville of he future. This is your cool aunt. I know things seem bad right now with your Mom + Dad but by the time you read this you'll be glad that they did not stay together. They would have just fought and have taken out their own frustration on you. I think you an intelligent girl anyway and wil be doing just wonderfully in College. Enjoy your life, beautiful Sophia, Irish Aunty.

two notes, written on the back of crumpled paper. The first reads a letter to my friend's past self, whom she believes was hanged. Dear hanged Amy, I bet whatever you did was not so serious that you should've been hanged. Your hanging seems to be to have been an overreaction by the state in any case. Maybe you were just gathering herbs and they called you a witch. I call that outrageous. I am glad you are with us today. Anna. The second note reads Dear Rasputin, I am surprised by your tenacity and kind of impressed too. Today, when I look for a metaphor of survival, I sometimes employ you rather than the cat with 9 lives. Bye, Anna.

a variety of submissions - 1 a Cineworld cinema ticket reading Make it stop raining! - 2 a Darth Vader Star Wars Card with tippex reading Vader heart you, 3 a Dublin bus ticket with here was my journey! written on it and 4 a Bewley's Café loyalty card.

 a long piece of paper reading Dear God Who are you? Answers to psmith10@gmail and underneath is written Dear God, ignore Paul, he's one of those accidents, where man is more to blame than you are. However why do good things happen to ugly people. Text back! xxx! x


  1. Very cool. Nice and subtle too.

    Actually, I was just down there yesterday, checking the street names (because the street lights are dead on that lane, and I was going to get them fixed). That lane is actually still Dame Lane. Palace Street is that little bit that runs from Dame Street to the Castle gates at the end of Dame Lane.

  2. That's a tremendous idea. I might venture into town today to have a look-see.

  3. Oh i love it... I never figure out what it was all about...
    Yay for answers... kind of!

  4. What a cool idea! Makes me wonder what I would "post".

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I'd passed it many times and wondered too, Darragh. Another mystery solved.

    Now, if only you could figure out who has creatively tampered with the stickers on the ESB station opposite it.

  6. Keith - getting street lights fixed? I want a job like that! Do you get a ladder? I'm not at all surprised that Google has it wrong on the maps, it's not a street at all!

    Radge - the street art down that laneway is something else too.

    Raptureponies - wow, I never saw that on your blog - you obviously have very discerning taste :) Did you ever find your cable?

    Hope - I often wonder that too. Maybe I'll just print this article and post that to the artist :)

    Gray - I saw those photos on someone's blog, thought they were deadly. I love the creativity in Dublin :) There's probably loads out there that the vast majority of people never notice!

  7. What an incredibly fascinating project. I'll have to have a wander along and take a peek next time I'm in Dub.

    It's making me think of something that used to happen in Edinburgh, although it's not really the same apart from the fact it involves stories. The List runs a page called 'I Saw U' and you could pick up branded postcards around the cities cafes and bars, fill them in and send them off to the mag. Then you'd read this page full of mini-stories about longing, lust, desires for connection and wonder if any of them ever came right.

  8. Hi, thanks so much for posting this blog about the letter box, I put it up in may and am quite surprised it's still there! I actually have about 50 more letters that I haven't put on the myspace, you have inspired me to get them up there! At the moment I am making pieces of art based or inspired by some of the early letters i received. I will be exhibiting these pieces along with the letters in my final year exhibition of fine art in DIT. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement! Spread the word and send me a letter! The current theme is travel and adventure stories. Oh and you can buy Baby BEEF independent art press in tower records and road records in town, you can submit everything and anything to them, and they also publish some of the letter-box letters in each issue too. Have a lovely day!

  9. Wow, what a fantastic idea! Walked down that street loads of times and never noticed it - I'll have a proper gander next time I'm in town. Fascinating!

  10. Lovely idea, would never have know about it.