Before the year comes to an end I must share another post from Ireland because it was extremely special to have the chance to visit in 2016, one hundred years after the war of independence began with the Easter Rising, which you can read more about here. The entire city of Dublin was decked out to commensurate this momentous, if bloody, occasion and none more than Kilmainham Gaol. Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison that even after visiting I have trouble spelling located in Dublin, Ireland, and is now a museum.
I am glad I visited on my first full day in Ireland – Kilmainham Gaol was particularly harrowing but the tour did a great job setting the stage of Ireland’s past and present. When you arrive at the prison, just pass the Guinness Factory on the south side of the river, you start in the very nice visitors center which as you can see from the map below has a cafe, well kept restrooms, and a few pieces of historical memorabilia to absorb before your group of 20 meets for your tour and you are taken across the street and inside the actual prison gates.
As mentioned, I learned a tremendous amount about the Irish Revolution while at the prison but also about the history of the Dublin as the prison was opened in 1796 and remained open until it was decommissioned as a prison by the Irish Free State (post independence) in 1924. While on the tour it reminded me at times of the prison on Alcatraz Island in San Fransisco but as I quickly realized my tour there was 14 years ago it was certainly interesting to experience history like this as an adult. Take a look at some of the photos from the morning:
After touring the cells and the Main Hall you head outside into the courtyard where a dozen of the Irish revolutionaries who lead the Easter Rising were executed by the British in 1916. Even though the sun had come out and there were twenty tourists from all over the world staring at an empty courtyard on a brisk October day the experience was still quote eery and moving. Then it was back inside to see more cells of famous people who were imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol and we heard more about the deplorable conditions people; men, women, and children, lived in while in the prison. While not a bright and shiny tourist attraction I highly recommend it! (And don’t just take my word, over 14,000 people have reviewed it on Trip Advisor making it the number one thing to do in Dublin!)