Crumlin Road Gaol is currently closed for major refurbishment. The Gaol is expected to re-open late 2012.
Crumlin Road Gaol is a former prison situated in North Belfast, Northern Ireland. Designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, the Gaol was built between 1843 and 1845 it is the only Victorian era prison remaining in Northern Ireland and was one of the most advanced prisons of its day.
On March 31, 1996 the Governor of Belfast's Crumlin Road Gaol walked out of the fortified prison and the heavy air-lock gates slammed shut for the final time. The closure ended a 150-year history of imprisonment, conflict and executions.
Built within a five-sided walled site, the gaol had four wings fanning from a central area known as The Circle. The Grade A listed building is part of the social fabric of the city and the first inmates, who were forced to walk from Carrickfergus Prison in chains, arrived in 1846.
In the gaol's lifetime 17 men were executed by hanging, their bodies buried within the prison walls in unconsecrated ground. The first executions took place on an open gallows erected at the end of D-wing, in full public view. However in 1901 a new execution chamber was constructed at the bottom of C-wing and this was used until the last hanging in 1961.
Opposite the Gaol is the now derelict Crumlin Road Courthouse. An infamous tunnel links directly into its dock from the Crumlin Road Gaol. Prisoners were led to trial through this tunnel.
Guided tours of one of Belfast's most distinctive and notorious buildings bring to life stories of child prisoners, the incarceration of Suffragettes and executions carried out at the gaol.
The Gaol is currently closed.