EuropeNorth IrelandPresidio

Crumlin Road Gaol

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HISTORY

It is a former prison dating back to the Victorian era, situated on Crumlin Road in North Belfast, Northern Ireland. It took in its first prisoners in 1846, shortly after its construction, and closed its doors in 1996. The first 106 prisoners were men, women and children from the Carrickfergus City Prison, near Belfast, and all came walking and chained to each other. The prison was built in the shape of a pentagon. There was a central circle with five wings, or wings. This format made the wings visible to the jailers, who were in the central part of the structure, and kept the prisoners isolated. Near the entrance was a holding area in which prisoners were placed before being taken to the courthouse across the street. In case they were convicted, it was also in this place that they took a shower and left their belongings before going to their cells.

WHY THIS PLACE

The distance between the prison and the courthouse was covered by the prisoners through a tunnel 82 meters long, dug five feet below street level. The tunnel was quite damp and cold, so there were hot water pipes that served to warm up the environment a little. More than 25,000 prisoners are believed to have passed through this tunnel. Initially the prison was designed to hold 500 people, but it reached 1,400 prisoners, that is, 2 to 3 prisoners per cell. Despite being known as the Alcatraz of Europe, there have been a number of successful escape attempts. The first recorded breakout was in 1866.

CURIOSITIES

On November 24, 1991, the prison became the target of an IRA bomb and was subsequently closed in 1996, remaining unused for many years. In 2010 it underwent a restoration process and was reopened in 2012 as a tourist attraction, conference center and venue for concerts. It received a visit from Queen Elizabeth II in 2014.

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