“ Old historic prison. Sunday's Well, Cork „
If you find yourself feeling a bit hard done by at times, spare a thought for the inmates of Cork City Gaol who were locked up for a variety of petty crimes, such as stealing a loaf of bread!
The Gaol, which opened in 1824, tells the tale of inmates through an audio presentation, which details their individual tales of woe.
Being mostly poverty stricken, the unfortunate souls were impounded behind bars where many lived out their last days, and all for crimes which seem ridiculous by todays standards.
Walking around the prison, its easy to imagine the kind of miserable life the inmates had here, especially since the building has been meticulously restored and very much resembles the layout of a typical jail. Original graffiti remains in some of the cells, which really adds to the atmosphere of the place.
Realistic waxwork figures are dotted around all over the place, and they help depict the various stories which are told to visitors.
Closed in 1923, the prison laid empty before gaining listed status and being turned into one of Corks prime tourist attractions. It caters for corporate events, educational visits and the general public, and spooky night time visits are also arranged throughout the year.
Visitors are free to wander around at leisure, soaking up the atmosphere as they go, before finishing the tour with a video presentation at the end. This part of the tour is a reminder of the stories visitors have heard, as told by the inmates. While informative, its also a little cheesy it has to be said!
All in all, this is a good way to waste away an hour or two. The attraction is just 2km from Corks main shopping centre, and can be reached via a short walk uphill, or by open top bus in the summer months.
Located 2km (we use Km's in Ireland rather than miles) As you walk through the corridors of the jail you cant help but wonder what it was like for these unfortunate people , this castle like prison once housed 19th C. prisoners, often in wretched conditions. You are given a Walkman in whatever language you require at the start of the tour. The sound effects and commentry lends itself to the atmosphere and you soon find yourself immersed in the history and feel of the place Each Cell has a life size replica of an inmate with an account of why they were there etc. It is a fascinating account of lives in 19th Century Cork and tells of the reasons why some people turned to crime. It was also a Female prison at one time too and this too is a fascinating account of how these women found themselves in Jail! Mainly for prostitution as that was the only means for poor women to make some money! At the end of the tour there is a spectacular sound and image presentation that tells of the social history and contrasting lifestyles of 19th Century Cork! There is a Souvenir and refreshment area too! And you may just need a cuppa after that!!