Crumlin Road Gaol

Location: Crumlin Road, Belfast



Affectionately known to Belfast locals as The Crum, this Victorian prison was in operation for 150 years, finally closing its doors in 1996. After two years of extensive redevelopment, Crumlin Road Gaol was reopened to the public in late 2012, offering visitors the chance to experience life behind bars in this foreboding structure.

Guided tours of the prison run daily between 10.00am and 4.30pm, taking in the Gaol’s must-see sections including the hospital ward and Governor’s Office. You’ll even get to see the Condemned Man’s cell, where more than a dozen men awaited their final punishment, and the graveyard where they now rest. From the Circle, you can get a view of each prison wing, while the Governor’s chair provides you with the view of the people who ran this once-bustling building; as many as 25,000 people are said to have been incarcerated here during the Gaol’s lifetime.

Directly opposite the prison complex is the Crumlin Road Courthouse – prisoners were transferred between the two buildings by a tunnel running under the ground. During your tour, you’ll have the chance to walk these very same steps, to see and hear the place where the wrongdoers took their fated steps. The tour lasts about an hour and a half, and the friendly guides are very knowledgeable on their subject, providing a comprehensive history of the prison.

The prison building has achieved grade A status in Northern Ireland due to its historical significance and its architectural appeal. For those of a stronger disposition, the prison is occasionally opened up for one of its ghost walks, for which organisers promise thrills of the paranormal kind.

If you’re looking for something a bit different for your trip to Belfast, Crumlin Road Gaol provides a fascinating insight into Victorian history.

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