The vast majority of Gaol inmates were detained for petty crimes, particularly during times of great hardship when being poor was usually equated with being guilty.
Below are examples of some of the crimes committed, do they seem unusual to you?
Michael Coughlan, aged 22, was committed in April 1824 for “Stealing a Mule”. He was sentenced to 12 months and was released in March 1825. According to the Prison register he was “very well conducted during the latter part of his confinement”
In June 1825 John Dooley, aged 50, was sentenced to 3 weeks for “having timber in his possession”. He was released in July 1825 and was reported to be a “quiet and orderly” prisoner.
A 17-year-old by the name of Richard Blakeney, was sentenced to 3 months in June 1827 and was released on 22nd September of that year. His Crime? “Spoiling his Masters work”
Patrick Shaw was sentenced to 1 month for “stealing a spoone”, he was released on 17th August 1929.
Bridget Ahern (24) and Mary McMahon (30) were both convicted on the same day in December 1850. It was Bridgets’ first conviction and she was sentenced to 6 weeks of hard labour for “stealing a cloth cloake”. Mary, however, had 3 previous convictions, this time she was convicted of “stealing a bar of soap” and was sentenced to 8 months with hard labour.