Wicklow Gaol

Kilmantin Hill , Wicklow , Co. Wicklow

t: +353 404 61599
e: wicklowgaol@gmail.com

Wicklow Gaol
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About Wicklow Gaol

Wicklow Gaol is located at Kilmantin Hill in Wicklow, Co. Wicklow.

Wicklow Gaol originally opened in 1702 and served as a gaol until 1900.

The earliest recorded prisoner was Fr. Owen Mc Fee who was convicted of saying Mass in the County contrary to the law at the time. In the early days, Gaolers, were paid a wage out of which they were expected to provide for the prisoners hence why conditions were often appauling. In the mid 1760s legislation was enacted to provide better living conditions for prisoners. Between 1796 until the 1850's prisoners from Wicklow Gaol were transported to New South Wales including over 600 rebels from the 1798 Rebellion, including Joseph Holt, Michael Dwyer, Hugh Vesty Byrne, John Mernagh, Martin Burke, Arthur Devlin, James Dempsey, Thomas O'Neill and Nicholas Delaney.

During the famine in the early 1840s the gaol became overcrowded with those commiting petty crimes so that they could get regular meals. An extension was also added at this time increasing the capacity of the gaol to 77 cells.

In 1877 the gaol was demoted to a bridewell from a county gaol and it was finally closed in 1900.

For a brief period between 1918 and 1924 it was used to house Irish Republican Brotherhood and Sinn Fein prisoners including Erskine Childers who was held there prior to being brought to Dublin where he was executed. The gaol was closed again in 1924.

The gaol now serves as a heritage and visiors centre, with a craft shop, café and meeting rooms. It is open all year round.

Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday : 10.30 am - 4.30 pm, Sunday : 11.00am - 4.30pm

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