At Cork City Gaol you can experience what it was like to live in a 19th-century Irish prison. The facility opened in 1824 and closed in 1923, but the museum was not available to the public until 1993. Tour the grounds, view furnished cells, and walk the halls of this historic prison. At different points over the years, both male and female prisoners were jailed here. Many Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War Republicans were held in this prison, including the famous writer Frank O'Connor. Though the prison has a somber atmosphere, take the time to appreciate the beauty of the structure, designed by architect William Robertson and built by the Deane family. Before you head to Cork, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Cork vacation trip planner, to make sure you see all that Cork has to offer, including Cork City Gaol.
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Cork City Gaol Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
1,266 reviews
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4.4
TripAdvisor
  • August 17, 2017
    Had a good time taking the kids. Didn't think there would be much but was very impressed and it made a good afternoon out. We didn't get a tour guide as with young children thought probably best to go...  more »
  • August 17, 2017
    We took the guided tour and this was a good choice. The guide explained many different aspects of the goal and I learned a lot. There was the history of the gaol itself along with some very personal s...  more »
  • August 17, 2017
    Great place to visit, I have bring twice and I loved it both times. The only down side is you only get to see the newer part of the jail, I would of loved to see the older cells but they are blocked o...  more »
Google
  • July 1, 2017
    Friendly and competent staff. Offers audio tours in a bunch of different languages as well as guided tours. You can also just set out in your own. All the stations have realistic figures to add a visual element. The goal itself is very beautiful, especially when the weather is good. The gift shop has some of the best Ireland-related items that I have come across so far. The best way to get to it is probably the City Tour bus.
  • July 4, 2017
    This a a great place to visit and step back in time to experience what justice was like, especially if you were poor. The self guided audio tour works really well and the staff are ever helpful. Allow about 2 hours for the full effect.
  • July 1, 2017
    The audio tour was very informative the, staff was very helpful and friendly and the Gaol itself was well maintained and interesting. The exhibits were well layed out but i would loved some more i depth information in some places.
  • June 22, 2017
    Very friendly, helpful staff. Audio guide is brilliant, very realistic figures and and an amazing experience for history lovers.
  • June 27, 2017
    Very interesting visit of a beautiful building with a lot of history and with great explanations and museography! A must do in Cork! Ps : disappointing giftshop!

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Where to stay in Cork

A destination in and of itself, Cork City has a dense center with plenty of hotels and hostels. Head north of the city center for affordable options like mid-range hotels and guesthouses. From here, you can walk or bike to all of the sights in the heart of the city. If everything is booked, or if you've simply come to explore the city's surrounding nature, check out the campgrounds about ten minutes from the center of town by car. There are also a number of charming bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, and other pensions in the outskirts, which can be a good option if you're using the city as a base for exploring the sights of Cork County.
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