The Neo-Palladian Courthouse
Opened in 1845,
In the early years, inmates included women, children and petty criminals - some bound for Australia's penal colonies.
And, over the decades, inmates and internees of note (and for various reasons and sentences) have included Ian Paisley, Eamon de Valera, loyalist murderer Michael Stone and Shankill Butcher Lenny Murphy.
Since its closure in 1996, the building laid derelict until recent restoration work and tours breathed new life back into 'The Crum. And, from 19 Nov 2012, the Gaol opens as the city's latest permanent visitor attraction.
Conducted by trained guides, each c.1hr tour begins at the front entrance, taking visitors inside via the reception and Governor's Corridor. You then descend into the tunnel where cockroaches once roamed and ghosts are said to still haunt.
The Circle, with its ornate wrought iron railings and spiral staircase, is the next stop before continuing down a restored wing and into one of the 550 or so cells. At the end of the wing is the Condemned Man's Cell - larger than the others as it also housed two 24hr prison officers. Seventeen men were executed at Crumlin Road Gaol from 1854-1961, and all but two remain buried in unmarked graves at the back of the complex.
Your first glimpse of the original hangman's noose is guaranteed to leave even the hardiest of visitors slack-jawed. And the descent to the basement 'drop cell' - where the dead man was left to dangle until sure death - will send a shiver down the straightest of spines. A short walk outside reveals the large back yard, old hospital building - and those unmarked graves.
Conference and educational research facilities are available. And a Gift Shop with a wide range of souvenirs, local arts, crafts and much more, and cafe complete your unique day out.
To get there by car: From city centre, drive up Crumlin Road, pass the Mater Hospital, Crumlin Road Gaol and petrol station on your right, turn right at traffic lights onto Cliftonpark Ave, then take first right and follow signs to free car park.