Crumlin Road Gaol
Hear stories of escapes, executions, deportations and WWII bombings at a Belfast gaol that captures the imagination
Built in 1845, Crumlin Road Gaol played witness to a fraught period of Irish history. In its 150 years, children from impoverished families, political prisoners and suffragettes were among those incarcerated within its walls.
The prison closed its doors in 1996, but it has since been repurposed as a thought provoking and memorable visitor attraction, as well as a venue for conferences, concerts and events.
Behind the barsStep inside the gaol and you’ll be in the very place where 25,000 prisoners spent their days. You can explore Crumlin at your own pace on a self-guided tour which takes in the sprawling C-Wing, the Condemned Man’s Cell and the execution cell where 17 men lost their lives. Video, audio and hologram elements, as well as interviews with former prisoners along the way, really bring the story of the prison to life.
But if you really want to absorb everything the prison has to offer, take the guided tour. The 90-minute experience covers more areas of the prison than the self-guided tour, and you’ll be with an expert guide. In a place as rich with history as Crumlin Road Gaol, you’ll want to learn the stories these walls hold – and the guides can tell you them.
Beyond the prisonTo discover more about Belfast’s fascinating history, pair your museum tour with a Black Taxi Tour. You’ll be driven across the city in the comfort of one of Belfast’s iconic black taxis, taking many of the famous murals that give an insight into Northern Ireland’s history. You’ll have a guide with you talking you through the stories behind each mural. And on the tour you’ll have opportunities to stop, take pictures and even sign your name on the Peace Wall.
If you’d rather explore on foot, the Crumlin Gaol Road walking tour takes in many of the sights of the Black Taxi tour – such as Falls Road, Shankill Road, and the world-famous International Wall. Your guide will be a former political prisoner, and the experience itself will give you a balanced and clear perspective of the Irish and British conflict, how it impacted the area, and how it still affects Belfast today.
Both tours include the self-guided tour of Crumlin Road Gaol, so you can further deepen your understanding of how this period of history shaped Belfast, and the island of Ireland.
Need to know: Crumlin Road Gaol
Crumlin Road Goal is a 20-minute walk from the Belfast city centre. If you’re in a hurry it can be easily accessed by public transport. The 57 and 12B from the city centre have a stop directly outside the gaol
The gaol is open throughout the year but you should check its website for seasonal opening hours.
Admission prices vary depending on whether you’re going on the guided or self-guided tour. If possible, try to book online for a discount!
Crumlin Road Gaol has a range of other attractions aside from the tour. Live at the Crum hosts regular live music, and Cuffs Bar and Grill boasts locally sourced and inspired cuisine if you’re feeling peckish.
The self-guided tour should take about 70 minutes, while the Black Taxi tour is 2 hours 30 minutes.