Collins gained ‘in­ner peace’ while in Sligo Gaol

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

A three week stay in Sligo Gaol gave Michael Collins “in­ner peace.”

That’s ac­cord­ing to his grand­niece Mary Claire O’Mal­ley who un­veiled a spe­cially com­mis­sioned por­trait of her fa­mous grand­uncle at Sligo Gaol on Sun­day.

The event was hosted by Friends of Sligo Gaol to com­mem­o­rate 100 years since Michael Collins was in­car­cer­ated at the jail and 200 years since the jail opened its doors.

Un­veil­ing the por­trait, com­mis­sioned by Artist in Res­i­dence for Sligo Gaol Emma Stroude, Ms O’Mal­ley said her grand­uncle hadn’t been very happy at the jail.

“I think it taught him a lot. They say he de­vel­oped a lot in Sligo Gaol so it was a bit of a learn­ing curve,” said Ms O’Mal­ley.

The week­end kicked off with the launch of Friends of Sligo Gaol’s first chil­dren’s book ‘My Tale Un­told’.

Launched by former Chil­dren’s Lau­re­ate na nÓg PJ Lynch, the book, il­lus­trated by Wayne O’Con­nor, is based on a young fe­male in­mate at Sligo Gaol.

“Although ‘My Tale Un­told’ cen­tres on one young girl’s ex­pe­ri­ence, this book tells the story of thou­sands per­haps mil­lions of the down-trod­den who over cen­turies, have strug­gled against poverty, mis­rule and in­jus­tice and who have crossed oceans in search of a hope­ful fu­ture,” said PJ Lynch.

Key­note speaker at the ‘Crime and Pun­ish­ment in 19 th & 20 th Cen­tury Ire­land, 200 years of Sligo Gaol 1818-2018’ con­fer­ence was Dr Gil­lian O’Brien who spoke on ‘Dark Tourism’ said the open­ing of the jail would be an as­set to the en­tire re­gion.

“I think it’s ex­cel­lent. It’s got a uniquely ar­chi­tec­tural fea­ture; it’s very dif­fer­ent to all the other jails that are cur­rently open to the pub­lic.

“It’s got great sto­ries to tell in terms of the fa­mous pris­on­ers but also some of the other sto­ries, the sto­ries that tell the so­cial his­tory of Sligo and of the North West and broader po­lit­i­cal sto­ries as­so­ci­ated with it. In terms of its au­then­tic­ity it’s got huge amounts in terms of the fix­tures and fit­tings as it has stood since 1818 on­wards.

“It could open as a tourist amenity, it ob­vi­ously needs in­vest­ment and de­pend­ing on how much you were to re­pair or ex­tend it, there are a num­ber of chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with that but I think it would be an as­set for Sligo and for the whole North West re­gion as a tourist at­trac­tion,” said Dr O’Brien.

A va­ri­ety of top­ics were cov­ered in­clud­ing a His­tory of crime in Ire­land, Child pris­on­ers in Sligo Gaol and The Spike Is­land Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Project.

The aim of Friends of Sligo Gaol is to get the jail, which has been closed since 1956, re­opened to the pub­lic as a tourist and cul­tural at­trac­tion, as well as en­sur­ing its con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion.

“We were de­lighted with the suc­cess of the week­end,” said Chair­per­son Tam­lyn McHugh.

“It goes to show once again the ap­petite that is there to see the jail opened as a tourist at­trac­tion. We are very grate­ful to ev­ery­one who made this week­end pos­si­ble for us, es­pe­cially the Her­itage Coun­cil. It is very re­ward­ing to see the sup­port that is out there for us,” she said.

Friends of Sligo Gaol mem­bers with Mary Claire O’Mal­ley and FOSG Artist in Res­i­dence Emma Stroude and the spe­cially com­mis­sioned por­trait of Michael Collins. L to R; Chan­tal Doyle, Grace Larkin, Cllr Marie Casserly, Emma Stroude, Mary Claire O’Mal­ley, Ciaran Davis, Tam­lyn McHugh, David McLough­lin and Ciaran McHugh. Pic:

Ac­tors James Glynn and Craig de Faoite play­ing the ar­rest­ing de­tec­tive and Michael Collins as part of a spe­cial per­for­mance at Sligo Gaol on Sun­day. Be­low: Con­fer­ence del­e­gates.

Mary Claire O’Mal­ley ad­mir­ing a por­trait of her grand­uncle Michael Collins with Friends of Sligo Gaol’s David McLough­lin. Also present was Artist in Res­i­dence Emma Stroude, who painted the piece.

(L-R):‘My Tale Un­told’ Il­lus­tra­tor Wayne O’Con­nor, Chair­per­son of Friends of Sligo Gaol Tam­lyn McHugh, former Lau­re­ate na nÓg PJ Lynch and St John’s N.S. pupil Jas­mine Fun­ston whose win­ning draw­ing fea­tured on the ‘Crime and Pun­ish­ment in 19th & 20th Cen­tury Ire­land, 200 years of Sligo Gaol 1818-2018’, con­fer­ence book­let.

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