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The City Gaol, Cork City

Cork’s original Jail
The City Goal is now a hugely popular heritage centre, with stunning audio and visual effects, brought to life by life-size wax creations. For the historically curious, this is no boring tour!

From the moment you step through the forbiddingly high gateway and see furtive twisted figures half-hidden in the dim gloom, you seem to have returned to Victorian times, when stealing a loaf of bread could mean transportation, and poaching a deer, death.

The new Cork City Gaol has been preserved to retain the 19th century ambiance and features stark corridors, iron staircases, barred windows, and cells with original graffiti left by the inhabitants. The atmosphere is tainted with the howls of the dammed and the shuffling feet of the inhabitants walk alongside you as you journey through each corridor.

Try something new and visit Cork City Gaol at nighttime. This will enhance your tour, but beware; the spirits are more mischievous at night!

The City Gaol History
The old City Gaol at Northgate Bridge was replaced with the new City Gaol in Sunday’s well, which first opened in 1824 and closed them in 1923. The old City Gaol was deemed overcrowded and unhygienic.  A selection of possible sites were considered before opting for Sunday’s Well.

Neo-classical sculptor John Hogan developed the plans through sketches from architect William Robertson. The Gaol was deemed one of the very finest in three kingdoms.

In 1878 the City Gaol became an all-women’s prison, but this was abolished when male anti-treaty supporters were jailed in 1923.

After its closure in 1923, many thousands were transported on convict ships to American and Australian Gaols. 

Cork City Gaol Fact
The upper quarters of the governor’s house  were once utilized as a broadcasting house – Radio Eireann from 1927 until the 1950’s.

For more information on Cork City Goal, call: 00353 (0)21 4305022 or visit

Read up about more exciting attractions and activities in Cork.

Book your stay at the Maryborough Hotel and Spa with a choice of deluxe, executive and spa guestrooms. Then sit back and plan your perfect holiday visiting Cork City Gaol plus a host of other attractions and activities in Cork. 

Maryborough Hotel and Spa, Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Cork, Ireland, T12 XR12.
GPS: Latitude - N 51 52.452 Longitude - W008 25.273
Tel +353 21 436 5555 | Fax +353 21 436 5662 | Email:
Registration No: 8215149E