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1773 – Newgate Gaol, Dublin

Architect: Thomas Cooley



Between 1773 and 1781, a new prison designed by Thomas Cooley was built to replace the earlier, semi-ruined prison near Christ Church Cathedral. This was originally one of the city gates, hence the derivation of its name. After the move to the new building, the authorities officially retained the old name – Newgate/. Conditions were widely accepted to be terrible, with overcrowding and sewage problem plaguing the building. The prison finally closed in 1863, from which time until its demolition in 1893 it was used as a fruit and vegetable market. The remains of some of the corner bastions are visible at St. Michan’s Park.

Described in ‘The New Picture of Dublin: Or, Stranger’s Guide Through the Irish Metropolis’, published in 1831, as: “The present building which cost 16,000 is a large quadrangular pile of three stories extending 170 feet in front and 127 in depth having at the external angles four round towers. In the front are the guard room, hospital, common hall, long room, chapel etc; and on the other sides of the quadrangle are the cells which are twelve feet by eight, badly disposed, and as ill ventilated. The cells for the condemned are gloomy in the extreme, they are nine in number and compose the cellarage of the east front.”

Described in 1837, “The principal prison for malefactors of all classes is Newgate, situated near the sessions-house, in Green-street. It is a square building, flanked at each angle by a round tower with loop-hole windows. The interior is divided into two nearly equal portions by a broad passage with high walls on each side, having iron gates at intervals, through the gratings of which visitors may converse with the prisoners; the cells are neither sufficiently numerous nor large, nor is the prison well adapted for due classification. A chapel attached to it is attended by three chaplains; one of the Established Church, one of the R. C. and one of the Presbyterian religion.”

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