Kilmainham Gaol, a dark Dublin jail with a lot of history

Visiting prisons may seem like a dark and morbid experience, but the truth is that many of the most famous monuments in the world, such as the Tower of London or the Conciergerie in Paris, have been prisons. The difference is that they are much older than this one in Dublin and you don’t have the feeling of being in one.

Kilmainham Gaol is a very special place in the history of the country since many of the main protagonists of the struggle for Irish independence were imprisoned in this prison.

Today, it is no longer a prison, it has been converted into a museum and can be visited.

Things to do in Kilmainham Gaol

dublin-kilmainham-gaolThe prison was inaugurated in 1796 and numerous independence leaders have passed through it until it was closed in 1924, remaining abandoned until 1970 when it was remodeled to be able to visit and learn what life was like in prison.

The guided tour that can be taken in the prison begins in the chapel, the most famous place in it for being where the famous Irish leader Joseph Plunkett married days before being shot for having participated in the historic Easter Rising of 1916.

dublin-kilmainham-gaol-execution-yardAfter visiting this place, continue to the cells where the inmates lived, which were only lit by candles, which made them cold and gloomy as well as dark.

These inmates were not separated by sex or age and there were even children who had participated in robberies. Such was the situation of poverty in the country in the mid-nineteenth century that theft crimes multiplied and with them the number of inmates who lived overcrowded.

After visiting the cells, you access the courtyard where the executions of the prisoners were carried out. It is the darkest place and where you get goosebumps imagining what happened there. The last room is the prison museum where objects that belonged to the prisoners are exhibited.

You can find more information on the official Kilmainham Gaol website.

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