Thoughts of Freedom in Kilmainham Jail

Penny W-TStarred Page By Penny W-T, 21st May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Ireland>Dublin & Around

Historic milestones are usually wars and battles. These denote political divisions that scar the life of the ordinary person. The stark reality of Kilmainham is a reminder that there should always be more to living than war . . . . .

Main Entrance to Kilmainham

Heavy, forbidding, cold, grey stone; high walling, metal railings, unaccountable feelings of foreboding. The tall wooden door creaks slowly open, creating a crack of light just wide enough to squeeze through. The austere, narrow entranceway to this building generates the numbness that is subconsciously anticipated in a prison.

Floors of cells rising upwards . . . .

Involuntary shivers and a feeling of apprehension propels you along the narrow corridors into open doorways and onto stone and metal staircases. This is Kilmainham - enforced residence of many Irish men and women over the years. Now stark, cold and bereft of inhabitants, it is easy to sense the earlier residents; the emotions of fear, desperation, anguish, hate and anger still ooze from the walls and solid wood and metal doors that denied freedom so emphatically. The metal stairway in the communal area echoes still with the eerie footfalls of occupants of earlier decades.

Solitary confinement

The cold stone cells, empty of any comfort or facility often lacked light or access to fresh air. Narrow walkways - patrolled constantly - slits in the doors that allowed food to pass to the prisoner, metal piping that evokes the thought of tapped messages ringing around the complex between its inmates. Even now the visitor feels unable, or inhibited, to talk out loud - silence is the only solution in this place.

No access to daylight

History springs to life vividly in the display areas - the sad, devastated men and women with no solution but revolt; no light at the end of these tunnel-like corridors; bleak prospects of nothing better to look forward to - no hope for their children. The stark, enclosed court yards, a few paces in each direction, that served as an exercise area or execution point, seemed the only spots where light and air briefly touched your face.

Empty now, but . . . . . .

Endless days of sameness and torture, pain and humiliation, sanity retained only by a focus on hatred and retribution - and in many cases an underlying sense of real conviction and idealism - knowing they were innocent of all charges against them - at least in the philosophy of love of country - if not in the creation of chaos and mayhem. Kilmainham is a stark reminder that man’s inhumanity to man must end - peaceful existence on this planet is essential, and would remove all Kilmainhams from our environment - maybe - sometime - soon? Desperation drives us all to the edge of existence - some step back, some step over.

Tags

Freedom, Historical Location, Incarceration, Jail, Prison Buildings, Tourism

Meet the author

author avatar Penny W-T
Published articles on education themes, travel, history and writing techniques. Written a book on WW1 - Gallipoli, and travel books. Run a marketing network for small businesses.

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Comments

author avatar Eileen Ward Birch
21st May 2013 (#)

reminds me of visits to police cells.

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author avatar Penny W-T
21st May 2013 (#)

Only much more so, believe me.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
21st May 2013 (#)

Cells and prisons anywhere in the world will evoke the same feelings. Thanks for sharing your views.

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author avatar Penny W-T
21st May 2013 (#)

Thank you for taking the time to read it. I appreciate comments from other members.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
21st May 2013 (#)

I visited Ireland a few years ago and toured the jail. You did a very good job of capturing the experience. It really creeped me out. I felt as though I could feel the anguish of people behind bars and being led to their execution. It was not a pleasant experience but you captured the feelings well. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Penny W-T
21st May 2013 (#)

Thank you for your comments Connie, it is really useful when someone who has been there can give feedback like this. It is much appreciated.

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author avatar Songbird B
22nd May 2013 (#)

A really atmospheric and informative article Penny..I got the chills just reading it. What an amazing writer you are! Great Star page..\0/x

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author avatar Penny W-T
22nd May 2013 (#)

Thank you Songbird. I try hard to 'practise what I preach' where creative writing is concerned. I think everyone who makes a positive decision to write has a 'feel' for their environment when they describe things.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
22nd May 2013 (#)

Penny you always make us not only see a place but feel it...I do not want to miss one of your pages my friend....

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author avatar Penny W-T
23rd May 2013 (#)

Thank you Delicia, I will try not to disappoint.

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author avatar Wendy Porter-Ouellet
1st Jun 2013 (#)

Old and abandoned places such as this prison are very interesting to me, I really enjoy reading about them...thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Penny W-T
1st Jun 2013 (#)

I am pleased you enjoyed it Wendy.

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