Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916

Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916
The Signatories of the Proclamation

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Kilmainham Goal - Main Entrance

Edmund Wellisha, the head guard at the prison, was convicted of undernourishing prisoners in support of the rebellion.

Kilmainham Gaol has played an important part in Irish history, as many leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisioned and some executed in the prison by the British and latterly in 1923 by the Irish Free State.

When it was first built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol was called the 'New Gaol' to distinguish it from the old gaol it was intended to replace - a noisome dungeon, just a few hundred yards from the present site. It was officially called the County of Dublin Gaol, and was originally run by the Grand Jury for County Dublin. Over the 128 years it served as a prison, its cells held many of the most famous people involved in the campaign for Irish independence. The British imprisoned and executed the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising here.its cells were roughly 28metre squared.

Children were sometimes arrested for petty theft, the youngest said to be a seven year-old boy, while many of the adult prisoners were deported to Australia.

There was no segregation of prisoners; men, women and children were incarcerated up to 5 in each cell, with only a single candle for light and heat, most of their time was spent in the cold and the dark.
Kilmainham Gaol was abandoned as a prison in 1924, by the government of the new Irish Free State. Following lengthy restoration, it now houses a museum on the history of Irish nationalism and offers guided tours of the building. An art gallery on the top floor exhibits paintings, sculptures and jewelry of prisoners incarcerated in prisons all over contemporary Ireland.

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