Banbridge Historical Society are going to gaol on Thursday December 4, Downpatrick Gaol to be precise.
No, they haven’t broken the law. They are just going on their annual Christmas outing and the old gaol has been turned into an interesting museum.
If a major crime had been committed before 1775 the offender was hung, burnt at the stake or sold as a slave. Gaols were just used as a means of confinement to house people such as debtors.
Each town had its own ‘storage space’. It could be in a tiny room at the bottom of the town walls with a gate made of bars so it was exposed to the elements and the conditions were terrible.
Hearing about how prisoners were housed and the punishments given for crime should make a very interesting outing.
After the prison visit members of Banbridge Historical Society have booked a fork supper in the Belmont Hotel.
The price for the outing, including museum entrance, refreshments and transport, is £15. There are a few places left. If you’d like to go, and visitors are always very welcome, you could either take pot luck and turn up at the Belmont Hotel car park, where members have agreed to meet.
The bus will leave promptly at 6pm, or phone 028 40623320 to reserve a place.