Following on from my terribly romantic date with the Marvellous Mummy over Afternoon Tea, we rounded off the day with a visit to Belfast’s most famous Gaol!
Yep, a romantic stroll round a prison! Believer it or not at the request of the Lady, which I lovingly obliged even though It would be my third time on the tour!
We arrived, amid substantial rain, to bag two spots on the last tour of the day. The Jail which was firmly in the Countryside when it opened in 18 hundred & something (wanna know? Do the tour)now sits amid the constant movement of an evolving city on Belfast’s, Crumlin Road. Having closed down in 1996, its hard to believe such grim accommodations was an active prison in my living memory, yet that’s exactly what it was.
After a short yet pleasantly dry wait in the car, our multi cultural tour group assembled at the allotted time, at which point we were greeted by our tour guide Terry, who bore a passing resemblance, both in physical guise and humorous nature to comedian, Alan Carr.
Terry, as it would turn out, was unlike the previous tour guides I had experienced at the Crum, injecting a fresh approach infused with both humour & a factually fresh perspective to a tour I already knew or thought I did, the main points of.
Admitting that aside from his University studies he dabbled in standup, I would imagine he gets as much material from the guest he meets when leading tours as he provides to the same guest during tours.
Although well versed in the historical aspects of the site & the wider societal issues of the ‘Troubles’ which are of course inexplicably linked to the Prison and its inmates, he managed to link the happenings of the sites former daily life to that of the existence we inhabit today.
The tour itself, which lasts around 75 minutes takes place inside the prison bar the final few 10 minutes, which weather permitting, is conducted in the permitted yard of the building.
Some parts of the experience are quite eye opening and a little macabre depending on your stomach for such things. It is however an amazing experience considering this History is very much in living mind.
More information can be found on the official website