Before we left for Dublin we made sure to watch the movie, Michael Collins. I recommend anyone who plans to go to Dublin, take the time to learn what happened in 1916 because otherwise you will not fully appreciate much of what you see in Dublin. The Easter Rising of 1916 was not effective in giving Ireland its independence, but it did spark a change in the mindset of the people. Many of the leaders of the uprising were executed in the Kilmainham Goal (Jail), our second stop of day two.
Below are pictures of the old part of the jail. It was a miserable place, unheated for much of its existence. When they finally added heat they only pumped it in for an hour a day. Ireland is pretty chilly, so this place was very uncomfortable. Each cell was designed for one person but it often had 5-10, including a mixture of men, women, and children. Yes, children. They were taken there for a few days to a few weeks at a time for small crimes like stealing bread.
The graffiti was written by one of the prisoners in the early 1920s. It’s a quote from a speech given by Patrick Pearse. If you go to this website the person who posted there explains this in further detail. It says, “Beware of the risen people; Ye that have harried and held, Ye that have bullied and bribed.”
The pictures below are of the new wing which was built in 1864. When we walked into the room Matt and I said, “Man, this is a lot like Alcatraz,” which we had visited in San Francisco while on our honeymoon. Within a few minutes the tour guide said that it was in the same style of prison as only a few others in the world, including Alcatraz. No wonder it reminded us of Alcatraz! The name plate in one of the images is that of one of the leaders of the uprising: de Valera.
Many of the leaders of the uprising were executed at the prison in this enclosed area. Many of the executions were held publicly but these were too high-profile, so they kept these under wraps. The cross you see here was where James Connolly was executed. He was injured in the battle then taken to Dublin Castle to recover, as the castle had been converted into a makeshift hospital. When he recovered enough to be transported, they took him to the jail, strapped him to a chair, and executed him on the spot where this cross now stands. Ireland gives much credit to Connolly and his contemporaries for their independence, even though it wasn’t gained as a direct result of that uprising.