Friday, 26 August 2011

Kilmainham Goal Dublin

Kilmainham Goal, built in 1796, had seen countless men, women and even children incarcerated over the centuries. Children caught for stealing a loaf of bread were imprisoned for up to four days, drunks overnight whilst murderers languished with free board and lodging for their crimes. This Irish monument has housed close to every significant Irish nationalist leader through time.

In those days, film processing was expensive, hence the use of a mirror for the profile image for the complete mug shot. Clever huh?
Conditions were horrendous; overcrowding, no segregation of sexes, men slept on iron bedsteads while women lay on straw on flagstones.

In the 50's the Restoration Society strongly opposed demolition of this monument and after winning over support, a group of 60 volunteers began the work of clearing debris and vegetation from the site. The restored Kilmainham Goal is now second most visited place of interest after the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
The main facility is sturdily built and designed such that every cell is visible from all vantage points. You may recall scenes from the movies Michael Collins and The Italian Job (ori version) were filmed here.
Imagine living in a 28 sq meter cell with four or five inmates who could possibly be man, woman or child with a single candle to last 2 weeks. One could understand why scratching the walls would be a welcome outlet during daily role call.

The peep hole was designed to provide a wide-angled view of cell activities. Another clever idea.
The spiral staircase was installed for crowd control. Simple but effective.
The last look at the sky, trees and possibly birds as one proceeds to . . .

. . . the chapel . . .
. . . before heading to the courtyard to face the firing squad.
The fortunate ones remained under lock and key until deported to Australia.

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