Our original plan was to travel up to Ballymoney in Northern Ireland and on the last day to travel back to Dublin to get to the airport.
We changed our plans in the end and found ourselves with spare time in Dublin on the last day. We looked to see what was around and decided to visit the first prison my brother had talked about when we landed.
Unlike Crumlin Road Gaol you have to book your tour slot for Kilmainham Gaol. We managed to book tickets on my phone as we drove into Dublin which was a good thing as it was really busy when we got there and we were told that all tours were full.
We were both surprised at how different this prison was to Crumlin Road. Everything was different, which I guess was nice because if not it wouldn't have been worth visiting two prisons in a couple of days.
Crumlin Road was a very bleak, dark and sad. The stories of prisoners didn't make you feel sad or feel sorry for them. Or feel any kind of pity.
Whereas Kilmainham Gaol was the opposite. It didn't feel as dark, and although the stories were sad, they were powerful because the prisoners were those who were standing up for what they believed in. Standing up for their religion, their community rather than just being criminals. It felt like there was, and still is, a respect for those prisoners. This is purely down to the tour focus, as a county gaol, Kilmainham held thousands of ordinary men, women and children. With crimes ranging from petty offences such as stealing food to more serious crimes such as murder or rape. Convicts from many parts of Ireland were held here waiting to be transported to Australia.
Although the prison is beautiful inside I think we both preferred Crumlin Road Gaol mainly due to the small tour sizes. We had enough freedom to take our time walking around and didn't constantly feel we had to keep up.
However, would I visit here again? I definitely would and highly recommend it as a day out for anyone touring Ireland.