Kilmainham Gaol

16 Apr

I visited Kilmainham Gaol when my family came to visit. Even though we all enjoyed the tour, I think I enjoyed it the most due to my Ireland and Union course I am taking at Trinity College. I have learned a lot about important figures throughout the time period of 1800 to 1921, and our wonderful tour guide (who seemed to be able to go on for hours about topic about the goal) touched upon almost every person I have learned about that passed through the Kilmainham Gaol. These people include Robert Emmet, Anne Devlin, Charles Parnell, and Joseph Plunkett. I learned of the wedding held in the Goal between Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford and their last minutes together, however it didn’t make an impact on me until I saw the actual cell where it took place. I am not going to lie but it was very creepy walking through the halls and into the cells of the gaol. It’s hard to imagine that so many of Irelands important figures passed through the same halls. Even more spine chilling was the open room with all the jail cells called the Victorian Wing. I was terrified just standing in there but it would have been 1000 times for terrifying if each of those cells were filled with prisoners.
Kilmainham Gaol was one of the first gaol’s to start separating prisoners into their own cells. Due to the large variety of prisoners, this seemed to be a good idea seeing that there were children, women, and men all of whom committed very different kinds of crimes. As part of their sentence, Prisoners were given a candle that would have to last them two weeks, and if they ran out, no light for them! I found it very surprising that during the famine, people were desperate enough to commit small crimes to be admitted into the gaol. But once I learned of the conditions of some famine stricken people, it seemed like a smart idea; once admitted into the gaol, the “prisoners” would have to be supplied food and shelter. Living in the gaol at the time seems much better than living in a ditch on the side of the road. It shows how bad times were back then when people were asking to be put in gaol. I am very happy that I made the trip to see this important monumental building in Dublin.

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