Official tourism website for Northern Ireland

Crumlin Road Gaol Experience

53-55 Crumlin Road, Belfast, County Antrim, BT14 6ST


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Explore over 150 years of history in Northern Ireland’s only Victorian-era prison.

Since opening its doors in 1846, Crumlin Road Gaol (or The Crum as it’s “affectionately” known) has housed more than 25,000 prisoners. Over the hour you’ll spend exploring the prison you’ll learn all about the famous inmates once held here, including Éamon de Valera, Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley.

A virtual self-guided tour, you’ll pass through the echoing halls of the Central Circle to the cramped cells of C Wing, as well as the execution chamber – a truly sobering experience! Try to imagine what was going through prisoners’ minds as you travel along the Tunnel linking the courthouse across the road to the prison on the other side – allegedly the origin of the judge’s phrase “take him down”.

Experience first-hand what being locked up in a chilly 12-by-7-foot cell was really like – just be thankful that unlike the prisoners you’ll learn about, you can leave at any time! You’ll see for yourself how prison life evolved from one era to the next, starting in Victorian times when the Crum was founded, and ending as recently as 1996 when it ceased operation. And you’ll hear more than just the stories of male inmates – the Crum also held women and children, not to mention what the challenge of actually guarding the prisoners.

Feel a chill run down your spine as you learn how 17 men were executed in the Hanging Cells – six by famous hangman Thomas Pierrepoint alone! Over the course of the tour, you’ll discover how, despite its reputation as “Europe’s Alcatraz”, the gaol still had its share of escape attempts. After spending an hour inside its walls, it’s easy to see why!

Crumlin Road Gaol Experience

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