Find out all about the Historical Jails of Ireland – which are steeped in history and have housed some famous faces fromthe history of Ireland.
With a special emphasis on history & culture, 19th Century crime, punishment and social history, a trip to Cork City Gaol is a must!
Go back in time and trace the life of a suffering prisoner. The impressive audio system allows you to hear the shuffling of prisoner’s feet, the coughs of the sick inmates and you can also examine the life like characters that fill the prison’s cells.
For the architect among you, the Gaol’s layout is intriguing! The wonderful piece of Georgian/Gothic design has a number of particularly pleasant and unusual features – in fact, from the outside it looks more like a castle than a purpose built prison!
The Radio Museum Experience is also located within the Gaol. It was from here, that the radio station 6CK operated from in the late 1930′s.
The Gaol is located just 2km outside Cork city centre and can be reached on foot easily (buses pass the gaol also). If you’d like to take a guided tour they are available in 8 different languages. There is also an onsite café, which gives customers the option of choosing between a Victorian prisoner’s fare or the prison governor’s menu!
Kilmainham Gaol is the largest unoccupied gaol on the island of Ireland. A tour of the facilities gives the visitor a dramatic and realistic insight into what it was like to be a prisoner in one of these strongholds of punishment and correction between 1796, when it opened, and 1924 when it closed.
The gaol has played a very important role in Irish history with the leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 being detained here. The leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were also executed here and the final prisoner to be held in the prison was De Valera.
There is a museum on the premises, which can be viewed before the tour of the gaol starts.
Opening Times: April-September: 9.30am-5pm daily ; October-March: Monday to Saturday 9.30am-4pm, Sundays 10am-5pm.
All groups must be pre-booked.
Buses: Take the 51B, 51C, 78A, 79 from Aston Quay.
Ireland in the 1830′s were hard years for the Irish people. In these difficult and unsettled times, punishment was handed out often and harshly. One poor soul to suffer under this system was Thomas Dillon. As you experience the Bridewell Courthouse and Jail you will follow the horror of the judicial regime of the 1830′s and the fate of Thomas Dillon. This is an experience of the past, the scenes, the sounds and the character expressions which all add to the authentic atmosphere of that time.
Wicklow’s Historic Gaol
This is a major new visitor attraction located in Wicklow town. A two million restoration plan has been carried out by Wicklow County Council to develop the old county Gaol.
There has been a Gaol on this site since 1702 and it remained active until 1924. During this time thousands of prisoners, young and old, men, women and children, guilty and innocent passed through its doors. The story of Wicklow’s Historic Gaol is their story.
The exhibition covers such episodes as the 1798 Rebellion, the Great Famine, life in the Gaol during the 18th and 19th centuries and transportation to the penal colonies of Australia. The highpoint of the visit is the reconstruction of the prison ship, which visitors can climb aboard.
Pre booking is advised for groups. Wicklow’s Historic Gaol is open from March 17th to October 31st.
Adjacent to Roscommon Castle is the massive building of solid stone, once the county jail. It was built in the 1740s. It is known for having a hangwoman “Lady Betty”, a criminal who had her sentence for murder withdrawn on conditiion that she carried out the hangman’s task without pay.
Roscommon jail was the scene of all the public hangings in the county.It later became a mental insitution, and then a refuge to treat small pox.
The old jail has now been developed into a residental and shopping complex.