Monday, December 5, 2011

Kilmainham Goal

Another place Dale was really excited to go to was the Kilmainham Goal, that's jail for all you U.S. English speakers. I'd never heard of it and was not very thrilled to be spending a vacation day in a jail but I tell you what, it was pretty impressive really and the best way to learn Ireland's history. You can read the wiki page here but the synopsis is the jail was built in 1796 as the primary jail of Dublin and sometimes a stepping stone for prisoners being deported to Australia. It quickly became overcrowded, especially during the potato famine when people and children as young as 5 would purposely commit petty crimes to be incarcerated thus ensuring a meal and a roof over their head. Many of the people important to the Irish Independence uprising were incarcerated here, some were even hung here. 
Here's a look inside the jail chambers, above for the women and children and below for the men; although the segregation was never strictly followed. The men's wing was significantly better equipped and more modern. 
The wing in the picture above has been featured in several movies, most notably the original Italian Job, as well as music videos, most notably 'A Celebration' by U2.
This wing did house some women and this cell in particular housed Grace Gifford Plunkett, an important woman in the Irish Civil War. While incarcerated here she painted this mural of a Madonna. She also married Joseph Plunkett (also a significant person in the Irish civil War)in the Kilmainham chapel, the only marriage to take place in the jail and Joseph was executed only hours later.
Above is the Kilmainham courtyard where the prisoners were marched through on the rare occasions they were allowed out of their cells.
Finally, I want to share the front of the jail. This is where the hangings took place when the jail first opened. Not an uplifting experience but in the end the Irish did gain their Independence. I admittedly didn't know much about Ireland's history and this was a great way to learn it all. When you pay the entrance fee you get to tour the jail through a guided tour only and there is also a small museum presenting a lot of the history as well.
Love Always,


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