Gaol tourist plans gather pace
Torture, punishment and primitive conditions are set to return to Wicklow Gaol except this time visitors will be glad to pay for the privilege.
The plan to turn Wicklow Gaol into a major tourist attraction was well received by Wicklow urban Councillors when presented to them on Monday night.
The consultants have an ambitious £750,000 plan to interpret the gaol to visitors by recreating aspects of prison life in the 18th and 19th centuries through the use of audio-visual display, costumed staff and actors and areas where visitors can take part in activities forced on inmates before prison reforms were introduced.
The plan is the work of two British firms, Brennan and Whalley Ltd and Derek Lovejoy Touchstone Ltd. It is predicted that the Gaol will attract an annual 50,000-60,000 visitors by its third year in operation. It is expected to open in early 1995 with running costs to come to six figures.
The consultants recommend an admission charge of £3.65 per adult and say that revenue generated from tickets plus sale of food and souvenirs could result in a small operating surplus by the time the Gaol has received 40,000 visitors.