It wasn’t until the 16th century that an organised postal system emerged in Ireland, with regular posts set up from Dublin to a few major towns.
This eventually led to the establishment of Post Roads which criss-crossed the country. Mail coaches began to operate in 1789 with the first one running between Dublin and Cork, speeding up mail delivery. This coach road ran through Callan. The earliest detail of the Post Office in Callan appears in Pigot’s Directory of 1824.
It states as follows: POST OFFICE, Green Street – PostMistress, Mrs Mary Nowlan. The Dublin Mail arrives at three quarters past six in the morning, and leaves immediately for Cork. The Cork Mail arrives at ten minutes past six in the evening, and leaves immediately for Kilkenny and Dublin. The various Directories for the 19th Century show the Callan Post Office located in Green Street, and this continued into the 20th and indeed the 21st Century. These very detailed directories give information such as the following in the Leinster Directory for Callan in 1894: POST, MONEY ORDERS; TELEGRAPH OFFICE; SAVINGS BANK - MA Funchion, postmistress. Letters arrive from all parts (via Kilkenny) at 5.11am; 12.15pm; are distributed to all parts (via Kilkenny) at 1.50; 8.10pm.
According to the 1911 census Mary Paddle, aged 39, was Post Mistress. The Post Office was then located beside where the Steppes Bar is today in Green Street. Her niece, Kathleen Theresa Murphy, aged 16, who lived with her, is described as a Post Office Assistant.
Subsequently the post office moved to a new premises beside what was later Kerwicks shop nearer the centre of the town. Mary Paddle died in 1946 at the age of 75 years and is described on her death cert as an ex-postmistress. The post office located here is what the older members of the community were familiar with.
An interesting aspect of the Postal Service in Callan is that we still have two letter boxes in use since before Irish
Independence. One is located outside the Library on the Clonmel Road, and the other is over at the Convent. Originally they were red but after independence they were painted green.
It was at the Lower Green Street location that the previous Postmistress Mrs Nellie Phelan started the present business before moving to Prologue where she constructed a new office beside her family home. Nellie was a very well-known and liked Postmistress who had an ear for everyone and her daughter Elaine who took over the position from her mother is exactly the same - kind, considerate and with a wonderful listening ear.
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