Kilmainham Gaol is infamously associated with Irish independence after the leaders of the Easter Rising were executed there in 1916. The Gaol is situated in Dublin and is known to be one of the most haunted places in Ireland. I visited Kilmainham Gaol in 2017 and it gave me some seriously creepy vibes.
It opened in 1796 as Dublin’s county jail and was renowned for its appalling conditions. When I visited, I saw the bleak windowless cells that were often over-crowded – despite being no bigger than a queen-sized bed.
I stood in the spot where the Easter Rising leaders and their followers were executed, surrounded by withering crosses to remember them. Despite the Gaol closing in 1910, it reopened to imprison those involved with the Easter Rising. The fourteen leaders were killed by firing squad. One injured man was tied to a chair and executed. It was sad and haunting as I stood there in the rain. It was silent and cold, despite being a summer’s day.
In 1960, the Gaol was reopened to be restored. But alongside the restoration came paranormal activities. Governor Dan McGill lived in the old warden’s quarters during the restorations. One night, he saw the chapel lights on, despite him turning them off. When he investigated, it was empty and he turned them off. But, when back in his room the lights were back on again. I did not hear of this paranormal story until after my visit, which makes it all the more spooky, because at the time I told my friend I felt like I was being watched in the chapel.
Another ghostly encounter took place a few days later, when a man was painting the dungeon. An unseen force blew him across the room and pinned him against the wall. He had to fight to free himself and refused to ever return. Funnily enough, I refused to enter the dungeon. The steps were crumbling and it was pitch black, even my tour guide would not go in.
Before my trip, I would say that ghosts do not exist. But the overwhelming paranormal presence I experienced has changed my mind.