It was a beautiful Sunday as we made our way to Kilmainham Jail. It was actually our second attempt to take a tour at the jail. We tried to visit the Sunday before but showed up too late and the tours were sold out for the day. Bummer! We set our alarms this time and arrived to the jail around 12:30pm.
Our assigned tour did not start for about an hour so we took a look around the fantastic three story museum. The museum details the history of Kilmainham Jail as well as what was going on in Dublin at the time. The museum was a perfect way to spend the hour before our tour.
The tour began with a short video showing clips of Dublin and then we began our walk around the jail. We entered the ‘new’ section of the jail that was a huge oval shaped building. Our guide told us the story of Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford who married in the jail right before he was executed for his part in the Easter Rising.
We were then taken to the ‘old’ section of the jail which was cramped, cold and dark. During the potato famine, many chose to commit small crimes so they were taken into the jail, thinking their chance of survival was higher at Kilmainhaim Gaol.
Outside in the courtyard, we were told of how the children in the jail were only allowed outside for one hour each day. At this time, the boys walked silently with their heads down on the outside edges of the circle and the girls did the same inside the circle. They were unable to look up towards the sky or talk during this hour outside.
We were shown where 15 members of the Easter Rising were executed from May 3-12, 1916. It’s hard to picture that these acts were committed in the exact spot we were standing. Your mind feels like you are in the middle of a move set rather than being at a location that holds an incredible amount of historical significance.
Our tour guide told us to come back since every tour given at Kilmainham Jail is an unique experience. It was a fantastic hour long guided tour and I definitely recommend visiting the jail during your time in Dublin.
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