Thursday, August 5, 2010

kilmainham gaol

our final excursion as one big class was a visit to the Kilmainham Gaol, an old prison used to house over the years a number of theives during the great potato famine and later the main prison for those who took part in war for independence. this included all of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. fifteen were executed between may 3rd and may 12th. we got to see the majority of their holding cells while they spent time here.

the entire experience was very eerie. it was very cold and dark and you can just imagine the conditions both men, women, and children would have had to face while in here. i got such a vibe, especially out in the courtyard where you stood right where all of the leaders were shot and killed. these men died for the independence of their country and it is so crazy to me that their is still fighting, for the same reason these men fought so many years ago, going on today in northern ireland.

front entrance, used to be used as a courtyard for public hangings.

catholic chapel (there was a protestant one upstairs as well)

hole used to pass through food or odd job items to keep the prisoners busy.
inside a typical cell.
inside the main corridors.
Eamon D. Valera's cell. one of the few leaders of the rebellion that was not sentenced to death. he later became the first president of the new Republic of Ireland.
commemorating the leaders and the days they were killed.
the spot the leaders were executed.

inside the museum:
cartoons the prisoners drew.
"Its said for me, loved wife, my life is remembered by yours now darling. I am drawing nearer and nearer to god. that good god who died for us, you and I love, and our children, and our children's children. God and his beloved mother again and again. Bless and protect you oh Saviour of mine. If my dear ones could die and enter heaven with me how blessed and happy I would they would be away from the cares and trials of the world. Now, my little one, be a nun. and Joseph my little man, be a priest. If you can James and John to you the care of your mother, make yourselves good strong men for her sake and remember Ireland. Good bye my wife, my darling. Remember me, God again bless and protect yours and our children. I must now prepare the last few hours must be spent with God alone. Your loving husband, Michael Mallin Commander-Stephens Green Command."

inside the museum we got to see many different displays filled with a number of letters and items of the prisoners themselves. one of the leaders, michael mallin, wrote this, his last letter to his wife and children. of all of the things i saw that day this touched me the most, i have never read a more heart-wrenching letter in my life. there was a few more including a marriage proposal and a letter written by a 17 year old boy to his mother. the very last thing he wrote after his signature simply stated "I am to die for Ireland"

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