Tag Archives: Kilmainham Gaol


Kilmainham Gaol: the labour ward of the modern Irish state….


Tour Guides of Kilmainham Gaol call the prison “the labour ward of the modern Irish state”. After taking the tour its hard to argue with this statement. This week alone marks the 130th anniversary of the Kilmainham treaty which saw the release of Parnell an event that effectively ended The Land War while 96  years ago the prison witnessed the execution of  the leaders of the 1916 rebellion. The prison incarcerated many key figures from the last two hundred years of Irish history and politics. Rebels from the 1798 and 1803 rebellions spent their final hours in Kilmainham awaiting execution while thousands passed through the prison on their way to serve long sentences in Australia.  During the Land War many activists were held here while those found guilty of the phoenix park murders were hung in the prison yard. The 20th century saw rebels from the 1916 rebellion and the war of independence held in Kilmainham, while the last executions in the gaol were after independence during the civil war.

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