Opening Hours

March- September

Open 7 days 10am until 5pm


Under 18s must be accompanied by an Adult

Did you know?

Countess Markievicz spent 4 months here in Cork City Gaol.
Photography by Barry McCarthy


Adults: €10.00

Student: €8.50

OAP: €8.50

Child: €6.00

Family ticket: €30.00 (2 adults and up to 4 children)


Under 18s must be accompanied by an Adult  
One of the best Cork Visitor Attractions
Unlock the past at Cork City Gaol Today

Isaac and Ralph Varian

Isaac Stephen Varian and Ralph Varian were active promoters of the national movement and they both spent time in Cork City Gaol.

In July 1848 Isaac Varian was arrested on a charge of sedition. According to the warrant, issued in Bandon, he had attended a meeting in Crossbarry where he “did, in the presence of divers good subjects, publish, utter, denounce and declare certain scandalous, wicked, malicious and seditious words of and concerning the government our good lady the Queen, and the law, and the constitution now established in this realm”.

When Isaac was arrested he was brought straight to the Police Court and here it became clear that similar warrants had been issued against a number of other men, including his cousin Ralph Varian. Isaac was released on bail of “two sureties in £100 and himself in £200”, Denny Lane and Robert Lambkin were named as his sureties. He also paid the bail for his cousin. After leaving the court, he entered the building next door to the Police Office and addressed the large crowd that had gathered outside.

In August 1848, Isaac and Ralph appeared at the County Assizes, along with a number of other men, to stand trial for conspiracy and misdemeanour. The Judge delayed the trial for 2 hours and so those on trial left the court. After a short time, it came to light that the 2 Varians had been arrested as they left the courthouse. The Lord Lieutenant had issued a warrant for High Treason against the Varians and a few others, including Denny Lane.

Isaac and Ralph spent a few months in the Gaol before being freed in November 1848, after a decision by the Privy Council to release them on bail.

Their time in the Gaol was not without controversy as the following newspaper extract from the end of August shows

“A FELONIOUS PIE. _ On Thursday a large meat pie, smoking from the oven, was presented at the city gaol, by a servant of the Messrs. Varian, of Patrick street, to be given to Isaac Stephen and Ralph Varian……. the searcher pierced it with a long needle, and finding it contained something hard, lifted the crust and discovered a bottle. On drawing a cork, it was found to enclose 5 or 6 letters and scraps of newspapers… [some of the contents of one of the letters was revealed] … The bottle and its contents have been retained by the authorities. The pie was given to the prisoners.”


Location Map →

GPS: 51.8995105,-8.49904979


Convent Avenue,
Sunday’s Well,
Cork City,

Tel: 021-4305022