Kilmainham Gaol - Dublin

Over the last year in Dublin, we've made a strong effort to visit every major attraction in the area.  We'd ticked most off our list but Kilmainham Gaol still remained.  We decided to trek out to this historically significant prison on a blustery spring day.  The prison can only be toured with a guide.  We started out in the prison chapel where many of the political prisoners from the 1916 Easter Rising were taken to pray immediately before they were executed.
We continued into the depths of the prison and were confronted with rusting doors and concrete walls showing their age.
Sporadic windows let in some light.  We were told that in the jail's heyday, many of the windows didn't have glass and were open to the elements even in the winter.  It was a tough place to do time.
Among the famous prisoners that served at Kilmainham, we toured the former cell of Charles Stewart Parnell who served time in the late 1800s.  A drawing of Parnell adorns the wall.
We emerged onto the main floor of the prison.  The door to every cell could be seen and easily monitored by the guards on staff.
A spiral staircase wound between the floors.
We had the chance to explore some of the cells on the main floor and even close the door to see what it felt like.  The peephole from the inside looks like an all seeing eye.
Grace Gifford married Joseph Plunkett on the eve of his execution for his role in the 1916 uprising.  Grace Plunkett was later imprisoned at Kilmainham for her own role in the fight for Irish independence.  She painted lovely religious inspired art on the walls of her cell.
We stepped outside into the courtyard where the main players in the 1916 Easter rising were executed.  A cross commemorates the spot where Ireland's rebel leaders fell.  All save one was executed on this side of the courtyard...
Michael Connelly was wheeled in on a stretcher, mortally wounded during the Easter Rising.  He was tied to a chair and executed along with his comrades in arms.  It is believed that this act turned the tide of sentiment against the British and ultimately led to freedom for Ireland in the years that followed.
Kilmainham Gaol is definitely worth a stop for a strong, sobering dose of Irish history.  The Gaol combined with the 1916 Easter Rebellion Walking Tour and Glasnevin Cemetery Tour provide a well-rounded crash course on the path to Irish independence.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Kilmainham Gaol - Dublin
Kilmainham Gaol - Dublin
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