Crumlin Road Gaol
On Mar 31 1996, Crumlin Road Gaol slammed shut its doors for what many thought would be the final time, but on Nov 19 2012 the chains fell off and HMP Belfast was reborn as a major visitor attraction and conference centre. Now you can explore over 150 years of history at Belfast’s infamous prison. Crumlin Road Gaol has established itself as a unique and multi-functional venue in a short space of time and is now a ‘must do’ for any traveller to Belfast.
The guided tour lasts approximately 75 minutes. You are first taken into reception – the prisoner’s introduction into prison life. Dark, damp and depressing, this had an immediate impact on the prisoners. It was here they were stripped and washed and became part of the prison system. Following on from reception is the tunnel which connects the Gaol with the courthouse on the opposite side of the road. Over 20,000 prisoners made their way through it from 1968 onwards, and now you get to follow in those footsteps.
From here you move on to the circle where you can see each of the four wings of the Gaol radiate out and can marvel at the 19th century Victorian architecture with lots of photograph opportunities.
Your guide then escorts you down C-wing. and you can experience what the conditions would have been like for prisoners at various points throughout the Gaol’s history. At the end of C-wing is the condemned man’s cell. Seventeen men in total were executed at the Gaol and you can see where many of them spent their last days before being led onto the execution chamber where 12 men had their lives ended.
The tour reaches its climax at the grave site where the executed men were buried. This was part of their sentence: 'to be buried in an unmarked grave, in unconsecrated ground.' A sombre place where many of the executed men still remain to this very day.
Eat and Shop
You can visit the on-site coffee shop ‘The Crum’, with 21st century facilities.
The Crumlin Road Gaol Gift shop is also open seven days a week and features an array of locally designed and produced souvenirs and memorabilia.
Text supplied by third party.
- Provides: Free wi-fi