Sing-Sing Prison to Open to the General Public

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1875

On Sunday August 27th the Knockraha History Society will open Sing-Sing prison in Kilquane graveyard to the general public from 12 to 6pm. There will also be an exhibition of memorabilia from the War of Independence at the graveyard. Sing-Sing has become a major tourist attraction during the last few years. This is attributed to its importance during the War of Independence as the prison for the Cork No. 1 Brigade with over 100 prisoners being kept there during the War and with up to 30 being executed out of it. It is a unique facility with nothing similar in Ireland. It has received massive exposure from historians in various publications and it was recently the subject of a major documentary on TV3. It is believed that the Sing-Sing structure was constructed 1500 years ago as a store for monks to hold their food and it was used again in the 17th century as a safe place to keep bodies during the body-snatching era. The structure itself is an underground vault measuring 16ft x 8ft by 6ft high in the centre. Entrance is gained by descending 6 steps. It is guarded by a solid gate with spikes and there is a strong steel door 1/2 ft. thick. When the door is closed the vault is totally dark and for most of the year water drips from the roof. It now has a special interest to those studying the paranormal according to a recent book ‘Haunted Ireland’. It has been suggested that there is a secret compartment at the back of Sing-Sing. It will take archaeologists to explore this on Heritage Sunday. It will be open from 12-6pm with conducted tours every hour in which all its history will be explained. In tandem with the opening of Sing-Sing we will have an exhibition of memorabilia from the War of Independence such as guns including a maxim machine gun captured from the British. These were the dominant guns from the First World War. Recently the History Society were presented a Russian rifle retrieved from the Aud which was destined to be used by the Volunteers in 1916. Pat Mulcahy is preserving it in a specially-made glass case. To add to the evening courtesy of Knockraha ICA a cup of tea and light refreshments will be available free of charge. Also on display will be the equipment used by Knockraha IRA to make hand grenades which were distributed through the whole country. So all in all we have a very interesting evening promised.

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