7. Courthouse and Bridewell

The Earl of Egmont gave the ground for a Sessions House and Bridewell in 1824 and the building is dated from 1827. The architect was George Richard Pain and the design is similar to other such buildings throughout the county. It too, is built on a prominence and is approached by walled-in stone steps. Its rather austere façade is relieved by attractive stone pediments and a picturesque Venetian window.

The courthouse was the scene of some lively ‘sessions’, especially in the turbulent times of the Land League, and the Bridewell was in frequent use. Convicted prisoners were tried by judge and jury and imprisoned in the Bridewell .The courthouse itself is still in very good repair ,

The Bridewell and Bridewell-keeper’s residence lay behind the Courthouse, within a large walled enclosure. Lewis said, in his Topographical Directory (1837): “The Sessions House and bridewell are substantial and commodious buildings”. The bridewell, he said, consisted of several wards and separate day rooms and yards “adapted for male and female prisoners”

During the troubled times of the 1920 , famous IRA leaders like Comdt Murphy , Sean Moylan and Sean Óg O Connor were imprisoned there.

A famous jailbreak occurred when 21 prisoners overcame the guard , scaled the high wall , and were never captured…