Kilmainham Gaol

Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 they ended they ended with the leaders’ of those rebellions confinement here.  As well some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history were also imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol such as Robert Emmet, Thomas Francis Meagher, Charles Stewart Parnell, the 1916 Easter Rising leaders and Eamon de Valera. It was the executions in 1916 of most of the Easter rising leaders that certainly affected most of the Irish people and put the Goal’s name into Irish folklore. Of the fifteen executions that took place between 3 May and 12 May after the Easter rising, 14 were conducted here in the Stone breakers yard. The most famous of those executed was James Connolly. Connolly forcefully persuaded the officers of the Irish Volunteer squads to start the Easter Rising. Doomed to fail from the beginning, he told his men that when they surrendered “Don’t worry. Those of us that signed the proclamation will be shot. But the rest of you will be set free.” He was badly wounded during the firefight; he was then taken to the ‘Connolly Room’ in Dublin Castle and subsequently to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham before execution. Before it was closed in 1924, prisoners from the Irish Civil War were imprisoned here from 1922.

Kilmainham Goal is in central Dublin and is around three kilometers from O’Connell Bridge and not very far from the Guinness Storehouse.

Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, if for no other valid reason, would be a reputable beacon for being the biggest unoccupied jail in the British Islands. The austere and forbidding atmosphere gives you a realistic and hard nose insight into what is was like to have been imprisoned in one of these terrible places of punishment, correction and execution between 1796 the year that it opened and 1924 when it was shut to the encaserated. It offers an amazing look into some of the deepest, disasters and inspirational moments of eighteenth, nineteenth and twenty century Irish history.

Apart from the regular revolutions against the foreign power the British, the Gaol held not only the ordinary criminals of those times, including women and children, but as well many political prisoners. During the mid nineteenth century Irish famine people were so desperate and hungry, that they deliberately committed offences so that they would be admitted into Kilmainham Gaol, where at least they were guaranteed regular food and water. The Gaol was very oversubscribed during the great famine that the inmates of the Gaol slept and lived in its corridors.

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