A Victorian-era prison, Crumlin Road Gaol was built in 1845, closed its doors in 1996, and is now open to the public.
The intake room where prisoners were washed in carbolic soap, checked for lice and prison clothing handed out. Men, women and children were imprisoned here – the children usually for stealing food and the women for being suffragettes.
A mannequin of the warden in his office.
Imagining myself in this place. Wrought iron balconies and spiral staircases add a somber note to the jail. The medical office.
Doors in the jail’s offices needed a code to enter.
The doors to the actual jail cells were somewhat more substantial.
Seventeen prisoners were executed in the gallows.
Looking out through the windows.
Even when you’re outside, you’re still ‘inside’.
Some of the prisoners were buried within the jail grounds, never to enter the outside world again. If they had been executed for their crimes the graves were either unmarked, or marked only with their initials and the date of execution.
The door to the tunnel connecting the Crumlin St. Gaol to the courthouse, where they used to escort the prisoners back and forth. You’re allowed to go into the dimly lit tunnel but only a short distance.
The courthouse across the street is in disrepair and not open to the public.
The tour was both funny, sad and spooky. What wasn’t mentioned in the tour were the hunger strikes of IRA members who wanted to be classed as ‘Prisoners of War’ as opposed to being labeled criminals. Several died of starvation including Bobby Sands who had been elected to parliament while he was in this prison.