Crumlin Road Gaol Experience

The Crumlin Road Gaol is a nineteenth century Grade A listed jail, open to the public for guided tours, concerts and events.

Crumlin Road Gaol Experience Belfast Travel Guide

The Crumlin Road Gaol is a historic prison that opened in 1846 and served as a fully operational prison for 150 years. It is now open to the public for tours, concerts and events. Experience all aspects of the Gaol from the tunnel linking the courthouse on the other side of the Crumlin Road to the hanging cell, hospital and graveyard. 

This Grade A listed jail has been witness to escapes, executions, hunger-strikes and riots, as well as births, deaths and marriages. Children from impoverished families, suffragettes, and political prisoners were among those incarcerated within its walls. 

Crumlin Road Gaol captures the imagination and is now a thought-provoking and memorable visitor attraction and a popular venue for conferences, concerts, and events. Hear stories of escapes, executions, deportations and WWII bombings at this historic Belfast Gaol. Visit our website for more information.

Crumlin Road Gaol

Crumlin Road Gaol | HM Prison

HM Prison Belfast, also known by its colloquial name, the Crum, is steeped in history and architectural significance. It is located on Crumlin Road in the north of Belfast, Northern Ireland and has been standing since the Victorian era. 

As the only remaining prison of its kind in Northern Ireland, it has been granted Grade A listed building status by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, which recognizes its unique and important contribution to the country’s cultural heritage. 

In addition, situated across the street stands the Crumlin Road Courthouse – an abandoned structure since the closure of the prison – connected by an underground tunnel that was utilized in the past for the transfer of prisoners between both edifices. 

The rich history and unique features of the Crum and the courthouse make them important landmarks in Northern Ireland’s past, present, and future.

Early history

Constructed between 1843 and 1845, the notorious prison, which was designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, required £60,000 for its creation. It was launched as the County Gaol for Antrim to replace the previous County Gaol situated on Antrim Street in Carrickfergus. 

The facility occupies ten acres of land at the base of Crumlin Road, made of black basalt rock, and it comprises four wings that stretch up to four levels in height. Based on HM Prison Pentonville, it was one of the most advanced prisons of its era. 

The Circle, its central area, is where the wings fan out. The original plan was to accommodate 500 to 550 prisoners in individual cells measuring 12 x 7 feet (365 cm x 213 cm), using “The Separate System” to keep prisoners apart with no contact. 

In the early 1970s, three inmates were often crammed in one cell. In October 1971, International Red Cross Evaluators witnessed 864 prisoners/internees in a building constructed to house only 475 people.

Crumlin Road Gaol Executions

Crumlin Road Gaol, originally designed by Lanyon, was an infamous prison that witnessed a significant amount of executions throughout its history. Initially, the prison lacked a gallows, leading to executions being conducted in public view. 

However, in 1901, an execution chamber was constructed within the prison walls to provide privacy for the executions. Over the years, seventeen prisoners were executed in the prison, with the final hanging taking place in 1961 when Robert McGladdery was executed for Pearl Gamble’s murder. 

The cells in which the condemned prisoners stayed were relatively spacious, with enough room for two guards to reside in as well. The dead inmates’ bodies were buried inside the jail in unconsecrated land next to the prison hospital’s back wall. 

Tom Williams’ execution, an IRA member, is one of the more well-known executions that took place in the prison, with his hanging being carried out by Thomas Pierrepoint, the prison’s most regular hangman who conducted six.

Crumlin Road Gaol Tour

Crumlin Road Gaol Tickets and Tours

Discover the fascinating history of Crumlin Road Gaol on a self-guided tour. 

Travel back in time and experience life from the perspective of over 25,000 inmates who were once imprisoned within its walls. Relive their stories as you walk through the gaol following their footsteps and pass through the tunnel that connects the gaol to the courthouse. 

Delve into the past with a visit to C-Wing, where you can gain a deeper understanding of what life was like in prison throughout the ages, and uncover the dark secret within its walls. 

Pay your respects to the 17 men who spent their final days in the Condemned Man’s Cell before being executed and visit the gravesite of the 15 men whose remains still lie within the gaol today. 

The Crumlin Road Gaol open seven days a week, all year round, with hours extending up to 4:30 pm. Specialised evening or night tours may be included, giving you even more opportunity to appreciate the rich history of this iconic location.

Crumlin Road Gaol Book online

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Currency Used in Belfast?

Belfast is part of the United Kingdom so the pound sterling (GBP) is the legal currency. This is the same currency used throughout the rest of the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland).

How many Days should I Spend in Belfast?

For an authentic experience in Belfast, it is suggested that at least 3 full days and 2 nights be allocated to discover the city’s offerings. The duration of the visit is dependent on the visitor’s preferences and availability; however, we highly recommend the aforementioned timeline to ensure an in-depth exploration of the city. We highly recommend this 3-day itinerary from Belfast.

Crumlin Road Gaol Visitor Attraction and Conference Centre

Crumlin Road Gaol 3

The Gaol has come a long way and evolved into an exceptional and diverse space. It has transformed into a multi-purpose venue that hosts various functions such as conferences, concerts, exhibitions, events and daily tours. 

With over 70 dedicated staff, the site is always buzzing with activity. Besides its primary functions, the place serves as a perfect setting for films, competitions, and civic events. 

The Visitor Attraction & Conference Centre had a grand opening to the public on 19 November 2012 and has since welcomed over one million guests. 

It’s no surprise that Cuff’s Bar & Grill, a fully licensed restaurant, opened its doors in 2016, given the overwhelmingly positive reception from visitors. In recognition of their incredible standards, the Gaol Visitor Attraction and Conference Centre have been awarded the prestigious ***** visitor attraction rating, a fantastic recognition for their outstanding performance.

Last but not least, their historic education program, “A Day in the life of a Victorian Child Prisoner,” received the Sandford Award for its excellent provision of heritage education, a remarkable achievement.

Opening Times

Opening time: 10:30
Last admission April to August: Sunday – Thursday 15:00, Friday & Saturday 16:30
Last admission September to March: Sunday – Saturday 15:00

Popular Tours From Belfast

Giant Causeway Tour

Belfast Shore Excursion

Top Things to See and Do in Belfast, Northern Ireland A Black Cab Tour

Explore the vibrant city of Belfast with a Black Taxi Tour. Black cab tours are guided tours that offer an immersive experience, showcasing the rich history, iconic landmarks, and hidden gems of this captivating city. Book your tour today and embark on an unforgettable journey through Belfast’s storied past and vibrant present.

During the tour, expert black cab tour guides will provide you with an insightful account of the origin of the murals and their symbolism. 

It is through their knowledgeable narration that you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the history presented by these captivating murals. The displayed murals encompass both sides of the 40-year conflict in Belfast.

Bombay Street

Frequently Asked Questions

Travel between multiple peacelines and walls on an eye opening tour of discovery through the once no go areas and learn of Belfast’s troubled past and rich shared history. Visit both Catholic and Protestant areas to get a balanced understanding of the past. You will be fully guided by a real black taxi driver who worked Belfast’s streets during an era known as the troubles.

  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • Private Tour and Professional guide
  • Transport by air-conditioned luxury MPV
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (from any location within Belfast Centre)
  • Free Port pickup and drop-off included (Within Belfast)
  • Airport pickup and drop-off included (Within Belfast)
  • Private Giants Causeway Tour From Belfast

We are Cab Tours Belfast, the only Black Taxi Cab Tour company in the city of Belfast. Jointly owned by both a Protestant and a Catholic.

Departure: Location changes with every customer depending on individual requirements please ensure that your pick-up location is included in your booking inquiry. This tour begins with a pick-up from any location within Belfast City Centre Free of charge.  Any location outside of Belfast will be at an additional cost.

We pick-up from

  • Belfast Cruise Ship Terminal
  • Hotel pick-up is offered for this tour
  • Address, or Intersection, Monument/Building
  • Airport

 Airports

  • Belfast International Airport, Belfast Northern Ireland
  • Belfast City Airport, Belfast Northern Ireland
  • Airport pickup and drop-off included (Within Belfast)
  • Also Available outside Belfast Anywhere in N. Ireland / Dublin at an Additional Cost.

Port
Belfast Northern Ireland Ports Belfast Cruise Terminal
Free Port pickup and drop-off included (Within Belfast) We adjust our times to suit the ship’s arrival and departure.

Return Details
Returns to the original departure point or anywhere within Belfast city center

  • There is a walking on what are sometimes uneven surfaces during this tour. Please come dressed appropriately for not only the season, but also for the activity
  • Warm clothing
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Lightweight raincoat just in case

Additional charges apply when you take a black cab from Heathrow, book by phone, and on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. All black cabs accept payment by credit or debit card without a surcharge.

How many passengers can travel on a black cab? All our black cabs have seating for up to 6 passengers.

Have more time in Belfast? Why Not Take a trip to Giant's Causeway

Giants Causeway Tour

The Giant’s Causeway is undoubtedly a sight to behold, and it has been recognized as such by UNESCO, who have designated it as a World Heritage site. Located on the stunning North East coast of County Antrim, this geological formation is not only magnificent but also mysterious. 

The area is characterized by polygonal columns that appear to have been placed with great precision, giving rise to countless theories regarding its formation – from the mythological to the scientific.

 As you explore this incredible site, you’ll have the chance to marvel at the interlocking basalt columns and incredible natural landscape. The Giant’s Causeway truly takes you on a journey through time as you explore the area and discover its fascinating history, making it a must-see destination for anyone interested in the natural world or Ireland’s rich and diverse heritage.

Best tips for your Northern Ireland Holiday So you are planning a trip to Northern Ireland, maybe you want to explore the Giants Causeway? Here are some useful tips and advice on how to plan your trip, so that you can get the best out of it. Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland has been voted one of the top travel destinations in the world by Conde Nast Traveler readers. 

You can visit this place by taking a private tour trip. The Causeway Coast area is home to many beautiful attractions, many of which are well known such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, where you can walk over the ocean on a rope bridge. Another attraction is Dunluce Castle, which has been abandoned since the 16th century, when it was destroyed during the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and is said to be haunted. 

There is also Old Bushmills Distillery where you can witness whiskey being produced in a traditional way. And not to be missed The Dark Hedges one of the most popular natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. How to get there: Getting around Northern Ireland is easy if you have a car or take a private tour.

This blog post will help you plan your next holiday in Northern Ireland, You will find out lots of information that will help you plan your next trip, activities during your holiday and when is the best time to visit.

Visit Game of Thrones Filming Locations

Combo Tours

Journey through the real-life Westeros on this fully-guided private Game of Thrones Tour from Belfast.  Follow in the footsteps of the Starks, the Lannisters, and all your favourite characters and embark on an epic journey through the Seven Kingdoms and Immerse yourself in the real-life Game of Thrones filming locations seen on-screen.

This is a must-see tour for any Game of Thrones Fan. This tour takes you to several of the Game of Thrones filming locations used in the series and also includes a visit to the Giants Causeway the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland, and walk the notorious Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. 

With this full-day experience, you will also get to visit the Glens of Antrim and the dramatic world-famous causeway coast and travel through the rolling farmland of County Antrim. The Antrim Coast Road is widely agreed to be one of the finest stretches of road anywhere in the world.

You have the option to stop at unexpected points if you wish for photo stops etc as and when requested. This tour can be tailored to customers’ requests.

Frequently Asked Questions | Things to do in Belfast

Travel between multiple peacelines and walls on an eye opening tour of discovery through the once no go areas and learn of Belfast’s troubled past and rich shared history. Visit both Catholic and Protestant areas to get a balanced understanding of the past. You will be fully guided by a real black taxi driver who worked Belfast’s streets during an era known as the troubles.

For an authentic Belfast experience give yourself three days to soak up the history, culture and sights. Belfast has a compact heart, and many of its best sites are within walking distance of one another.
 
 
According to Numbeo.com, the cost of living in Belfast is around 37% lower than that in London. The cost of living in Belfast for a single individual on a monthly basis in late 2022 not including rent, is around £660.50 for regular monthly expenses.
Belfast is the second friendliest city in the UK, according to Condé Nast Traveller magazine’s readers’ choice awards. Ten cities across the UK were featured on “The friendliest cities in the UK 2023” list. Northern Ireland’s capital was pipped to the post by the Welsh capital, Cardiff.
The town of Belfast was established by Sir Arthur Chichester, with the name ‘Belfast’ being an Anglicisation of the Irish Béal Feirste, which roughly translates as ‘the mouth of the sandbar. 
Most people need a valid passport to enter the Republic or Northern Ireland but there are some exceptions: If you’re a UK citizen, you can also use official photo identification.
How many passengers can travel on a black cab? All our black cabs have seating for up to 6 passengers.

Like most of the rest of the UK and Ireland, the summer months are usually regarded as the “best” time to visit Belfast. From May-September, your chances of hitting more sunny days than rainy ones are much higher – though you’ll still definitely want to pack a rain coat, just in case!

Cathedral Quarter: best neighborhood for nightlife and the arts. The Cathedral Quarter, on the fringes of Belfast city center, takes its name from St Anne’s Cathedral, an early 20th-century Romanesque Revival edifice characterized by its rounded arches and turrets.

Popular Bars to Visit in Belfast

  • The Crown Liquor Saloon

  • The Duke of York

  • The Dirty Onion

  • The Spaniard

  • Lavery’s

  • The Perch

We're here to help, so if you can't find the info you're after, or you just want to ask a really odd question, then we're here for you.

Popular Private Tours in Belfast

The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most beautiful sites that Northern Ireland has to offer. This natural phenomenon was created by a volcanic eruption.

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, suspended almost 100ft (30m) above sea level, was first erected by a salmon fisherman 350 years ago.

Bushmills Whiskey Distillery has been creating beautiful ‘ water of life ‘ since 1608 making this the oldest working distillery in Ireland.

Bushmills Whiskey Distillery has been creating beautiful ‘ water of life ‘ since 1608 making this the oldest working distillery in Ireland.

Bushmills Whiskey Distillery has been creating beautiful ‘ water of life ‘ since 1608 making this the oldest working distillery in Ireland.

Bushmills Whiskey Distillery has been creating beautiful ‘ water of life ‘ since 1608 making this the oldest working distillery in Ireland.

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