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As you walk through this prison’s passageways you’ll glimpse what it was like there during the struggle for independence

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Kilmainham Gaol

A visit to a dark past

One of the corners Dublin with the most bone-chilling history is Kilmainham Gaol, built in 1796 and used as a prison and gallows until 1924. Its stone walls conserve a certain aura of desperation and ruin which brings to mind the fate of many Irish revolutionaries who paid with their lives for their country’s independence. But it wasn’t just those condemned for political reasons who were shut up together in this prison; murderers, small-time rogues and any old common thieves also shared the same prison, with no separations for gender or age. In the mid 19th century the famine that devastated Ireland caused the prison to fill up with peasants, some because they were stealing for food and some who stole simply to be imprisoned so that they could at least get one meal per day. The gloomy tour of the passageways that led to the cells where the prisoners lived crammed like sardines finishes at the firing yard: death and history in equal parts.



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