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The Kilkenny Jail Escape 1921


“Supported by the Department of Tourism,  Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.”

Kilkenny County Council Library Service as part of its Programme for the Decade of Centenaries has commissioned a publication on the Kilkenny Jail Escape in 1921 with local historian and author Fergal Donogue. 

'On the night of 22 November 1921, forty-three prisoners escaped from Kilkenny jail. This was not the first time that prisoners had escaped from the city or county jail, but it was certainly the most audacious of jail breaks and the largest. It is also one that lives on to this day in folklore, family history, and the written record. The escapees were all political prisoners during the War of Independence and due to a slew of recent arrivals from Spike Island, came from all over Ireland. At the time of the escape, the county jail was at the top of Gaol Road, on Stephen Street, close to the modern fire station. While nothing remains of jail today, its history can be traced, and the surviving plans show what the jail looked like. The oral evidence from the bureau of military history, in combination with the surviving maps and plans, also reveals a lot about the escape and the approximate location of the exit point of the tunnel can be established. ‘

If you would like to learn more, you can preview publication by clicking link below and then download by clicking the title page.