Inchicore Road, Dublin, IE

+353 1 453 5984

Status: Former Gaol; Museum



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Kilmainham Gaol Main Hall 2016-06-03.jpg

By © User:Colin / Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 4.0Link


This prison was opened in 1796 and housed and executed some of the worst criminals in the history in the United Kingdom previous to Irish Independence. This included many Irish Revolutionaries who fought for Ireland’s independence.

The 28 square meter cells were filled with up to 5 people and were not segregated. Men, women and children – as young as 7 – were all housed together in the same cells. Prisoners were jailed for everything from petty theft to murder and revolt.

In 1840 a women’s wing was built but it was constantly overcrowded.

In 1924 the Irish Free State Government decommissioned the gaol after the end of the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War that followed. The gaol was seen as representative of the oppression Ireland suffered under English (UK) rule.

In 1936 the government considered demolishing the prison but found it not to be cost effective.

Instead, turning it into a museum – especially to memorialize the heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising who the English executed at the prison – was brought up but tabled with the onset of World War II.

Work didn’t commence until 1960 when ownership was turned over to a Board of Trustees make up of the government and the public. The museum opened in 1966 but it took until 1971 to fully clean up the buildings and grounds.

The museum is owned by the Department of Public Works.


Paranormal Activity

Many visitors have reported seeing people in period clothing and assume they are re-enactors before they discover they are acting seeing apparitions of the prison’s former inhabitants.

Visitors and staff report a very menacing presence near the chapel balcony. Mediums have confirmed the presence of an evil entity in the chapel.

One of the restorers saw the chapel lights on after he turned them off. He returned and seeing the chapel was empty he turned the lights back off. After leaving the lights turned back on again. This went on for while until the living person gave up.

Another restorer was in the dungeon area when a sudden wind with no source pinned him against the wall. He had to fight the force in order to escape the dungeon. He never returned to the gaol.

Phantom footsteps have been heard that often follow people on site – even to the pointing of stopping and starting with the witness.

Other Activity: disembodied voices; cell doors slamming shut on their own; electrical disturbances; cold spots; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities; light anomalies and feelings of being watched and not being wanted.