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Kilmainham Gaol symbolizes Irish independence

April 29, 2011 - 2:27am
Kilmainham Gaol
Dublin is filled with historical attractions to explore, which makes it a perfect destination for those who love to learn about other countries and their backgrounds. One interesting site is Kilmainham Gaol, which is a former prison that now serves as an Irish museum.

The building was erected in the late 18th century as a replacement for a dungeon. What distinguishes the Gaol from today's regulated prison systems was that it did not separate men, women or children. Rather, five people were fit into one cell, regardless of their age or gender. Children as young as 7 years old were typically incarcerated for theft.

These days, Kilmainham still stands, but as a monument of historical importance. With many of Ireland's most famous leaders having been prisoners at the facility in the past, it symbolizes the country's struggle for independence and is often referred to as the "Irish Bastille."

The Gaol ceased prison operations in 1924, but those who visit today will get an authentic glimpse into the confinement that jailbirds experienced back then.