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2020-05-25 00:00:14

Kilmainham Gaol: for lovers of gloomy monuments of the past

Kilmainham Gaol: for lovers of gloomy monuments of the past

Are you a fan of non-trivial attractions? Palaces, parks and monuments are beautiful, but do you want something special? Kilmainham Gaol is a great choice! For 2 centuries, the authorities held captive those fighting for Irish independence. The prison was not only a place of imprisonment, but also a place of torture and execution - which is probably why the atmosphere here is heavy and gloomy. In the middle of the 20th century the prison suspended its direct activities and began to work as a museum, from the first day attracting a large number of visitors: everyone is interested to see the conditions under which the most famous Irish prisoners were kept. Kilmainham makes a special impression and is definitely worth your attention.

History of Kilmainham Prison

History of Kilmainham Prison

Kilmainham Gaol was built in 1796 and was the second prison in Dublin. The first, the Old Prison, was 200 meters away. The prisoners of the prison were men, women and children aged 7 years and older, held in shared cells.

The cells were dark and cold, measuring 28 square meters. Prisoners were given one candle for two weeks, which burned out after a few days - the rest of the time people were in the cell in complete darkness.

Women and men were kept in shared cells, but the conditions in the women's cells were worse than in the men's: the latter had iron beds and mattresses. The women slept directly on the floor, not on mattresses - on fallen straw. The injustice was noticed by one of the wardens in 1809.

Kilmainham became not only a place of confinement, but also a place of executions: from the very beginning of the prison they were held in front of the building, and the first death sentence was carried out in 1798. In 1891 a special room was created outside The first floor of the prison was equipped for executions.

Famous prisoners

Famous prisoners

Among the inmates of Kilmainham at various times were:

  • Robert Emmett - leader of the rebellions
  • Thomas Russell, governor of the Cayman Islands.
  • Jeremiah O'Donovan - revolutionary, leader of the secret Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood.
  • John Dillon - nationalist.
  • Michael DeWitt - social activist.
  • Thomas Clark - revolutionary, one of the founders of the Easter Rising
  • Eamon de Valera - leader of the Easter Rising, etc.

Prison, now a museum

Prison, now a museum

Visitors to Kilmainham can:

  • Appreciate the conditions under which nineteenth- and twentieth-century prisoners were held.
  • View prison paraphernalia and uniforms
  • Interrogations were conducted to get a glimpse of how prisoners' personal files were kept at the time.
  • See with your own eyes the scene of an execution
  • Study the biographies of the most famous prisoners.

On the top floor is a gallery that is famous for its special exhibits: all created by people in prison.

Interesting Facts

Interesting Facts

  • In the late 1930s, it was proposed to equip the prison with a museum of the Easter Uprising, but because of the Great Patriotic War, the idea was not realized.
  • Among the locals, the prison was nicknamed the "Irish Bastille.
  • Prisoners were not divided according to their articles: thieves, assassins, revolutionaries and hooligans were all in the same cell.
  • Today there are signs on the doors of each cell with the names of the people held there.

 

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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