Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol is often described as the Irish Bastile.  The former prison is now a Dublin museum.  It's well worth a visit but you really need to book tickets in advance or you won't get in.

The prison was built in 1796.  Up until the 1820s, public hangings took place in front of the prison.

The prison was rough.  There wasn't any segregation so men, women and children were all imprisoned together with up to five inmates per cell.  The youngest prisoner is believed to have been a seven year-old who had been arrested for petty theft.  The cells were about 28 square meters (~301 sq feet) with a single candle provided every two weeks for light.

As bad as the prison was, during the Great Famine, some people committed crimes in hopes of getting fed as a prisoner.

The prison was shut down in 1924 by the Irish Free State.  The museum opened in 1971 and it is one of the biggest unoccupied prisons in Europe.

The spot were the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed

For many the prison is a memorial for Irish freedom.  Many of the leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867, and 1916 were imprisoned here.  Many rebels of the 1916 Easter Rising were imprisoned and executed by the British here.

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