Thursday, 7 April 2016

Over the Irish Sea ..part 2

Continuing my Irish adventures...
Still in Belfast on the Sunday morning and we decided to visit Crumlin Road Gaol also known as the Crum. The design of the building was based on Pentonville prison and was to be a house of correction. Prisoners were to be housed 1 person per cell and it's rather ironic I think that in later years especially during the troubles that often there were up to 3 prisoners per cell. Building work was started in 1843 and the first lot of prisoners entered in 1846 and the gaol was closed in 1996.
Arrived nice and early so found a parking space no problem lol.

Opted to go on one of the guided tours this was the front of the prison, tried to persuade hubby to pose for a photo in the stocks but he wasn't very keen ...can't think why lol.

These are the changing rooms where you leave civilian life and become a prison number. Our tour guide informed us how nice you were to your prison guard here could influence whether you had a warm bath or if you were particularly troublesome you could end up having a very shallow and very cold bath in the next room! Ok note to self to be on my best behaviour!

This is the tunnel that runs under the road between the prison and the court house which was opposite the prison. These are the original Victorian stone walls weird to think of the number of people who have walked along here.

This is the same tunnel further on with the walls covered in reinforced concrete done during the troubles as the authorities felt there was a risk of the tunnel collapsing from car bombs on the road above really made me think. 

This is the governors house where originally he and his family lived and was connected to the main prison by a simple door, ok it was reinforced but rather scary to think how close you would have been to the inmates. This was converted to staff quarters in 1953.

This photo is of one of the governors of the prison and all the staff and is hanging in the governors office. This photo makes me smile as the governors children were not allowed to be in the photo but as with most children they couldn't resist seeing what's going on and can be seen peering out of one of the windows on the right of the picture. An early form of photo bombing! 

When you walk out of the governors wing this is the view that greets you, the entrances to each of the 4 wings. 

Very imposing.

This is A wing and housed all the suffragettes and other female prisoners. This prison originally was mixed with not only male and female prisoners but also children. 

One of the punishments at this prison was oakum picking the laborious process of unpicking rope this must not only have been boring but sore on the fingers too. The thought did cross my mind that the poor woman would not be able to do any needlework or knitting how daft!

The exercise yard.

Prisoners were only allowed out in small groups at a time. I can't help but look at all those prison cell windows and wonder at the lives that have passed through them. Well after that rather sobering tour we enjoyed a much needed cuppa before heading off out of Belfast for the next part of our journey.

In the afternoon we arrived at another NT property the Argory in Dungannon. By now the weather had turned again and it was grey, wet and cold brrr. The picture below is actually the back of the house I just liked seeing the daffodils there were lots of daffodils round this property. 

The house was very interesting as there is no electricity apart from what the NT put in for health and safety, the family who owned the house never felt the need for it and survived with just candle light then gas light. When wandering round this property it was quite gloomy but I guess great for protecting needlework from light damage - got to look for the positives! The guide showed us a weighing chair which was situated at the end of the gloomy hallway and told us that everyone that visited and stayed at the house was weighed on arrival and on leaving by the cook and their weights were recorded in a book. If the guest had gained weight during their stay it was seen as a good sign and meant the food and hospitality were good but if they lost weight it was considered an insult to the hosts eek! Apparently there was only a few entries where the guest had not gained weight. I do wonder if guests ever cheated and erred on the side of caution and ensured heavy pockets? 

This was the view from the front of the property and on the other side of the river was another county. I love the idea of being able to view from your windows two different counties.

View of the front of the house with a lot of the windows covered to reduce light entering the rooms. The Argory houses a wonderful collection of textiles as the family never threw anything out over the generations when we were there they had a fabulous collection of hats out on display and they were in perfect as new condition. 
This is the courtyard which housed the stables but now houses the coffee shop and second hand bookstore. We stopped here for another cuppa before heading off again.. to be continued...

1 comment:

Vickie said...

ooOoo! Another fascinating post Ali.