The first execution took place on Saturday 26th April, 1828: Owen Ryan was convicted of a criminal assault on a woman named Eliza Phair.
The execution was a public spectacle, with the infamous ‘Execution drop’ located high over the entrance gate. Newspapers of the time reported on the “awful termination of human existence”: a large crowd “consisting of several thousands” showed up to witness the first execution at Cork City Gaol. A large black flag was hoisted above the Gaol, at 1pm the Gaol bell rang and 10 minutes later Ryan was “launched in to eternity”. Due to the length of the drop, and perhaps the inexperience of the hangman, Ryan’s execution did not go smoothly and it apparently took almost 15 minutes for him to stop convulsing.
The quotes and above information were taken from an article in The Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier dated 29th April 1828.