Cork City Gaol (1824)
Cork City Gaol, a listed building, is an important part of Irish architectural heritage. A fine example of the work of Sir Thomas Deane, it dates from one of the most distinguished periods in Cork’s architectural history.
It is a wonderful piece of Georgian/Gothic architecture, with a number of particularly pleasant and unusual features – in fact, from the outside, it looks more like a castle than a purpose built prison. The classical proportions of the building feature Gothic details such as turreted battlements, dripstones etc. The basic shape of the main building is like the capital letter “H”, with the Governor’s House forming the central block.
At each end of the Governor’s House are circular drum galleries, 3 storeys high linking into the cell wings. These are lighted from central roof lanterns. The ends of each of the single-sided cell wings have beautifully proportioned circular towers, offsetting the austerity of the wings.
The remodelled (1870s) double-sided West cell wing, in contrast to the others, gives a remarkable sense of space with its high arched hallway and catwalks on either side giving access to the cells. Behind the main building was the Hospital and also, the Debtors Prison (both yet to be restored).
The entire Gaol complex is contained within an oval outer wall, with entry through the Gatehouse ……
an entrance door of strong oak, studded with flat nails and situated under the Gallows.