Crumlin Road Gaol

Top choice in Belfast

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 23: The Crumlin Road Gaol 23 April, 2017 at Belfast. The Crum was one of the most secure prison in Belfast until 1996, when it was closed.

©Attila JANDI/Shutterstock

Guided tours of Belfast's notorious Crumlin Road Gaol take you from the tunnel beneath Crumlin Rd, built in 1850 to convey prisoners from the courthouse across the street (and allegedly the origin of the judge's phrase 'take him down'), through the echoing halls and cramped cells of C-Wing, to the truly chilling execution chamber. Advance tour bookings are recommended. The jail's pedestrian entrance is on Crumlin Rd; the car-park entrance is reached via Cliftonpark Ave to the north.

Since it opened in 1846, Crumlin Road Gaol imprisoned a whole range of historic figures, from Éamon de Valera to the Reverend Ian Paisley, and from suffragette Dorothy Evans to the 'Shankill Butcher' murderer Lenny Murphy. Designed by Charles Lanyon (the architect of Queen's University and many other city landmarks), and based on London's Pentonville prison, 'The Crum' was also the scene of 17 executions between 1854 and 1961. It remained a working prison until 1996.

Check the calendar for four-hour 'paranormal tours', and for regular, highly atmospheric concerts held at the jail.