Crime in Ireland was punishable by death for centuries. These criminals were executed in public for all to see for in various ways for various offenses. Today, capital punishment is no longer legal in the Republic of Ireland and has been abolished since 1990.
Here are ten places in Ireland where Public Executions did at one time take place:
1. Market Square, Clonmel
At this site, William Smith O’Brien, found guilty for attempting to help incite a rebellion against the English with the Yound Irelanders near Ballingarry, was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered in 1848. This was the last occasion such a sentence was handed down in Ireland.
2. Gallows Green, Limerick
This execution spot has a long history in Ireland. It dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries where Catholic priests were hung for their religious beliefs. Bishop Terrance Albert O’Brien, for one, was hanged and beheaded here on the 30th of October 1651.
3. Gallows Hill, Kilkenny
This site was located within the county infirmary of the time. It became a spot for hanging dating back to 1767.
4. George’s Hill, Dublin
Today, it is known as the site of the George’s Hill Presentation Convent dating back to 1794. However, this spot is where Christians were executed and martyred for centuries prior.
5. Harold’s Cross Green, Dublin
The name was derived from the one given to the gallows. The archbishop maintained the punishment here in the 14th century. Harold’s Cross served as an execution ground for the city of Dublin through the 18th century and earlier.
6. Kilmainham Common, Dublin
TheKilmainham Gaol, or prison, was erected here in 1786. It was known as the Irish Bastille and today is a museum. Its most famous prisoners include nationalists and freedom fighters Robert Emmet and Eamon De Valera.
7. Knockcroghery, Roscommon
The city was named after a hanging. Originally known as Cregann, its named changed in the 16th century after a group of Irishman who resisted the Bristish invasion of their town and were hanged.
To mark this act of courage the village became known as “Knockcroghery” (“Cnoc na Crocaire”) or “The Hill of Hangings."
8. St. Stephens Green, Dublin
A very popular spot for executions in Dublin, the convicted were imprisoned, whipped, hanged, pilloried, strangled and burned to death. Between 1780 and 1795 244 people were hanged.
9. In front of St. Catherine’s Church, Thomas Street, Dublin
Robert Emmet was infamously executed here by beheading in 1803. A plaque commemorating the event can be found there today.
10. Wexford Bridge
A notorious massacre took place here in 1879 as thousands of local loyalists were executed by United Irishmen on the bridge in the town center.
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