Wednesday 17 July 2019

Historic tour of Dundalk gaol

Famous prisoners who were resident at Dundalk gaol between 1916 and the Irish War of Independence were remembered during a tour of the historic building last week.

Relatives travelled from every corner of the country to hear riveting stories about the exploits of the inmates.

A secret wedding, multiple prison escapes, Irish classes, elections, prison journals, military strategic planning and hunger strikes took place. The event was held by both the Louth Volunteers 1916 Relatives and The 1916 Relatives Association whose Chairman Brian O'Neill was in attendance.

Visitors saw the actual prison cells where names like Sean Treacy, Terence MacSwiney, Dick McKee, Austin Stack, Frank Henderson and Frank Thornton spent their days.

The prisoners had reported being well looked after by Dundalk's Cumann na mBan who kept them supplied with generous food parcels and information. They used clever strategies to keep in contact with GHQ. Ryan O'Donnell provided an overview of events in the jail from one of its first inmates who had built the gaol but ran out of money to its rebuilding and refurbishment. Relatives of and co-authors of the book "The Louth Volunteers 1916" Alan Bogan and Marcus Howard gave an in-depth presentation of the lives of the famous inmates, many of whom would have huge parts to play in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War.

Demand was very high for places. There will be another event in August hosted by the Louth Volunteers 1916 Relatives in Dundalk Gaol.

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The Argus