Galway Gaol, Drawings

Repository: Galway County Council Archives

Identity Statement

TitleGalway Gaol, Drawings
Archive ReferenceIE GCCA/GS11/02
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1830-1866
Level of DescriptionFile
Extent Medium13 items


Creator(s): Grand Jury

  • Administrative History ↴

    Hardiman includes details in his book, 'History of the Town and County of the Town of Galway from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, 1820', about the building of the county and town gaols at Nun's Island, Galway. An Act of Parliament (42 Geo. iii cap. xviii) was obtained in 1802 'for building a new gaol for the county of Galway and for purchasing land sufficient for same, and for the purposes relating thereto (Hardiman, p302). The site, of about three acres, was acquired on Nuns' Island for £664.7s.6d. Thomas Hardwick (1752-1829), architect, of New Brentford, Middlesex, (the official jail architect) prepared the plans for the new gaol for county Galway on the model of Gloucester Gaol, and carried out under supervision of Richard Morrison in 1808-9. Much of the building work was carried out by John Brehan. Plans for alternations, for the adaptation to the separate system of confinement were drawn up by Samuel U Roberts in the early 1860s. ( (Aug 2012). The foundation stone for the new town Gaol was laid in 1807, to the south of the new county gaol. Both the Galway town and county gaols were opened in circa 1811, and was closed in 1939. The prison, which cost £27,000, was regulated by the Grand Jury of the county ("Galway Jail", in The Galway Reader, S. J. Magurie, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1951 ,pp47-51) Galway prison was closed under S.I. No. 87/1939 - Galway Prison Closing Order, 1939. The Order signed by the Minister for Justice, Patrick Ruttledge, stated ‘The Prison at Galway in the County of Galway shall be closed as on and from the 1st day of May, 1939’. Galway County Council, General Purposes file (109/38/72) contains correspondence relating to the transfer in 1940 of Galway Gaol by the Department of Justice to Galway County Council, and the subsequent conveyance of the property by the Council to the Galway Diocesan Trustees. The old jail was demolished and in 1949 John J Robinson of Dublin was appointed architect for the new cathedral. Cardinal D'Alton, the Archbishop of Armagh, blessed the site and the foundation stone on 27 October 1957, and construction which began in 1958 was undertaken by John Sisk Ltd. In 1965 it was dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus and St Nicholas by Cardinal Richard Cushing.
  • Archival History ↴

  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Grand Jury ↴

    File of material relating to Galway Gaol, consisting primarily of plans and drawings, together with documents relating to the erection of stalls for the treadmill (1864).
    Plans and drawings, some with slight colour tint, of the two adjacent prisons, with drawings related to a proposed amalgamation in 1866. The 1831 plan is signed ‘Dublin Castle 20 October 1831, His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant approves…’, and ‘Referred to by Deed of Contract dated the tenth day of February 1832’. Others which generally relate to proposed alternations are signed by the County Surveyor, Samuel Roberts, (1858 & 1866) and also annotated ‘Plans referred to in Bond dated 10 November 1858’ and also include additional signatures.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged chronologically

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available online at Unrestricted access. The material in this collection is available to all bona fide researchers by appointment only, and subject to the conditions of access governing the consultation of archival material at Galway County Council Archives.
Conditions Governing ReproductionNo material may be reproduced from this collection without the written permission of the archivist, and reproductions are subject to the conditions of access.
Creation Dates1830-1866
Level of DescriptionFile
Extent Medium13 items
Characteristics Tech ReqThe drawings received conservation treatment in 2011
Finding Aids Small collections guide Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Copies InformationAvailable online at

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NotePatria McWalter, Archivist
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottowa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions2011