Permanent Exhibition - 'At Present Confined': Life in the Old Gaol of Down

Down County Museum is located in the historic buildings of the 18th century County Gaol of Down.  The Gaol opened in 1796 and housed hundreds of inmates including those awaiting transportation to Australia. The prisoners ranged from debtors and those found guilty of minor offences, to those awaiting execution for capital crimes. This permanent exhibition tells the story of some of the prisoners who were incarcerated here, including the Gaol's most famous prisoner, Thomas Russell. You can read more about the Gaol and Thomas Russell here.

The Museum began restoring the gaol buildings in 1981. Today you can take a stroll through the gaol courtyards and visit the restored cells and sample the atmosphere of the Gaol.
Below: Artist’s impression of the old Gaol in the 1820s showing the yards in use. Philip Armstrong.