Kilmainham Gaol

15 Apr

Last Friday a few of us went to the Kilmanham Prison. It was very interesting to see all the jail cells. In the beginning of the tour they showed us a video and that really helped explain a lot of the jail and it helped explain exactly what types of people were arrested and kept there and what crimes they committed in order to be brought to Kilmainham. The things that shocked me where how 4 and 5 year olds were being put into jail for stealing bread or other little things. Most of these kids were arrested during the famine, as were many adults as well. When the famine conditions continued to worsen people would commit crimes just to be put into Kilmainham because they would at least have shelter and some food. I cannot even begin to imagine what the conditions were like outside the jail that people would want to be placed there. The conditions in the jail were dreadful. They slept on straw, they had 1 bucket to go to the bathroom in, the jail had open window airways for air circulation throughout the jail and being in Ireland, the weather is mostly cold. They spent most of their times in there cell unless they were doing labor, women did laundry and cooked, and men did hard labor outside.

Image West Area of the Jail.

We saw a lot of famous jail cells of different people from the Irish Rising, and the Irish Civil War. We viewed the cell of Grace Gifford who married Joseph Plunkett in the jail in the chapel. They got visitation every week for 10 minutes. This is artwork done inside of Grace’s cell.

Image

I thought the jail was a cool experience. I just can’t believe people actually survived something that horrible. Walking through the jail I just kept imagining all the people that were just trapped in there. I am glad I went and the tour was great. It was also only 2 Euro for students, so all in all it was an educational and fun experience.

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