Day 2 was a day of 11789 paces around Belfast. First it was off to the Titanic Experience and then to The Crumlin Street Gaol.
Our cab guide from the day before told us that no Catholic will go to the exhibit because there was a sign at the gates when it was being built “No Dogs, No Blacks and No Catholics.”
I must say that although it was interesting it wasn’t what I expected. There wasn’t really much about the actual sinking but a lot about Belfast life while it was being built and the actual building of it.
From the exhibit it was off to the gaol.
Belfast its called the city of murals. Most are related to The Troubles but there are a few others as well.
And some not so cool buildings
The Crumlin Street Gaol was built across the street from the Justice Building and they were joined by a tunnel.
The jail was built to house between 500 and 550 prisoners in single cell accommodation, each cell measuring 12 by 7 feet, and 10 feet in height. In later years, depending on the influx there would be up to 1900 people, with up to 4 prisoners often occupying a single cell, as was the case during the early 1970s with the internment of a significantly disproportionate number of republicans.
The punishment cell was used to – obviously – punish prisoners. They had only a mattress on the floor and a pot. Could not have been very comfortable and clearly there was a little more punishing that went on. Just sayin…
and the padded cell
There was also the painting cell where therapy went on. Weird I do say.
Then we went in to the condemned man cell. It was quite large and contained a bed, desk, bookshelves. The guide explained that the last hangman got the process down to a fine art. The warden, priest and a couple of guards would come in at the appointed time. Apparently what the condemned man didn’t realize was that the bookshelves just slid aside and there were the gallows. Other than the warders no one else knew since the condemned man wasn’t going to tell anyone. From the time the bookshelves were slid aside until the man died it took eight seconds.
It did seem a little incongruous to come around the corner in “the yard” to see
On the walk back
Next – “If you’re brave enough.”