Our Dublin Outing
Our June outing took us to Kilmainham Gaol and Croke Park. We travelled by train on June 16th and had a most enjoyable trip.
Kilmainham Gaol was our first stop. It is a former prison, built in 1796 and is a witness to the turbulent years from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth.
It was the most infamous prison in Ireland. Here Ireland’s greatest rebels were imprisoned and many were executed. It was opened four years before the Act of Union abolished the Irish Parliament. Irish prisoners were imprisoned here, including Charles Stuart Parnell and Robert Emmet, also leaders of the 1916 Rising. After the Rising the leaders were condemned to death by firing squad in the prison yard. Our guide informed us that when Joseph Plunkett was condemned to death, he and his girlfriend Grace Gifford were married in the prison chapel, just hours before he was executed.
Eventhough this deserted prison was depressing, cold and dismal, it was worth visiting, in order to pay homage to those honourable patriots of the past.
Next our trip took us Croke Park Stadium and the headquarters of the GAA. Today Croke Park is one of the largest stadiums in Europe after a 12 year redevelopment programme.
After a delicious lunch, in the corporate suite, we were given a tour of the stadium. We were shown the Hogan Stand, the Cusack Stand and Hill 16, together with the player facilities. Some of our group even tried out the VIP area to really try to feel the atmosphere one experiences when Up for the Match.
We returned home on the 5.45 train to Ballinasloe, tired, but more than satisfied with our Dublin visit.