Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Honeymoon Tour: Dublin - Day Two

On day two in Dublin we had three things on our list:
(1) sleep in. The back to back to back traveling and constant running around was starting to get to us and we just wanted a nice long rest. So we didn't set an alarm and we got up later in the day.
(2) Kilmainham Gaol.
(3) Guinness Factory Tour.

Kilmainham Gaol, or Priosun Chill Mhaighneann in Gaelic, was a former prison and current museum that was built in 1796. Many Irish revolutionaries, including leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were imprisoned and executed there by the British. Obviously this wasn't a very uplifting thing to do on a honeymoon but we both found the history fascinating. It was opened in 1796 and at the time it was one of the most modern prisons in Ireland. Prisoners included debtors and men, women, and even children who were sometimes arrested for petty theft. The jail had no windows for the first 50 years and the conditions were harsh. Back in the day of public hangings, they took place in front of the prison. But from about 1820 or so on there were few hangings that occurred at Kilmainham. The tour stopped in "the hanging cell" which was a little creepy, especially when our tour guide pointed out that a small circular hole in the wall was so the executioner could see the prisoner and size him up for the appropriate noose. Yikes!

The Irish Famine saw a massive increase in the number of prisoners in Kilmainham Gaol, with as many as five prisoners to each cell.  Many of these were woman and children charged with stealing food and as prisoners they were guaranteed a basic diet. Could you imagine? Five people inside this tiny cell. Prisoners also slept in the corridors because the jail was so crowded.
Interestingly, many of the prisoners were deported to Australia after their stay at Kilmainham Gaol.

In 1861, the East Wing was built to allow for 96 additional cells. This was a very large wing where you could see the door to every cell. Our tour guide explained that this was for security (makes sense).
One of the cells was open and I took the opportunity for a photo op. So I guess now I can say I've been in jail cell? Yikes!


 Prisoners were allowed one hour a day in the "yard"...which wasn't more than this:
Without getting into too much Irish history, suffice it to say that men were executed at this jail in May 1916 by firing squad. In fact, the cross in the photo below marks the spot where James Connolly, the last of the rebels to be executed, was killed. 
Not exactly the most cheery thing to learn about but definitely worth the visit.

After the tour concluded we were off to find some Guinness as the Guinness Factory Tour.
They walk you through the steps of making Guinness. Did you know that Guinness is roasted at 232 degrees and that's what gives the beer that dark appearance. Also, the color of Guinness is not in fact black but an amber red. They then take you into a "tasting room" where they give you some more information and your free pint of Guinness!
I didn't get many photographs but we enjoyed ourselves very much. Afterwards we had dinner at this hole in the wall pub with the most amazing food ever. The table next to us were backpackers who had been on the road for about 6 months! I definitely eavesdropped on them talking all about New Zealand and all of their travel along the way to Ireland.





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