HMP Crumlin Road Gaol (Her Majesty’s Prisons Belfast, Crumlin Road Gaol in English), is a famous prison located north of Belfast. In operation from 1846 until 1996, this Victorian-era prison is said to have been one of the most sinister establishments of the time, and to have housed more than 500 inmates in particularly precarious conditions .
Belfast Prison was designed by Sir Charles Lanyon between 1843 and 1845 for £60,000. Built to replace a prison at Carrickfergus, the building was erected in pure Victorian style. Covering 10 hectares, it was at the time the most modern prison in the country.
Consisting of 4 floors, it is the first prison in Ireland to have been built to avoid as much contact between inmates as possible. As soon as it opened, it received inmates mainly accused of stealing food or clothing… Afterwards, it was rather independentists, members of the IRA and other actors of the Northern Irish conflict who were imprisoned at the HMP Crumlin Road Gaol. Thus, Eamon De Valera, Ian Paisley, Martin McGuinness, Michael Stone and Bobby Sands, among others, were locked up in this prison…
The guided tour, will allow you to enter the heart of the prison and discover its different levels, with its cells, its main wing, as well as its execution chamber. The execution chamber is said to have been built in 1901, where 17 prisoners were executed by hanging (their bodies were buried in the HMP Crumlin Road Gaol).
Allow 45 minutes to walk around the prison. The guide is quite good, and the history of the prison fascinating. You will be able to dive into the heart of Northern Ireland’s prison world and gain a better understanding of the history of the country. Please note that these tours are obligatory guided, but will require a good level of English… French is not yet one of the languages spoken by the staff at HMP Crumlin Road Gaol…
A very good tourist attraction in spite of everything!
Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Duration: 45 minutes