You are currently viewing Christmas in Sligo Gaol
Sligo Gaol

Christmas in Sligo Gaol

In 1919, Bridget O’Mullane, an official Organiser in Cumann na mBan was convicted and sentenced to two months’ hard labour for giving a speech encouraging the social ostracism of the R.I.C. in Fermanagh. O’Mullane served her sentence in Sligo Gaol, confined to solitary confinement over the Christmas period. She found herself entirely alone with no other prisoners for company not even the Prison Wardress stayed the night in the former wing for the condemned and gallows.

Sligo Prison
Sligo Gaol

“I was equally afraid but was loth to protest lest I should be accused of cowardice. I need not add that the nights I passed on my plank, bed there were veritable nightmares. As a refinement of cruelty, when Christmas Day came, I was looking forward to some addition to my scanty prison fare and, at the usual hour of 12.15 p.m., I heard the rattle of the cans brought to the criminal wing. Still, nothing came to me, although I was feeling faint with hunger. Eventually, in the course of the afternoon, a lovely Christmas dinner arrived from the Ursuline nuns, who also provided my father and the other political prisoners with similar fare. The prison authorities, who knew this was to happen, did not acquaint me beforehand and cut off the prison rations from each of us, of which, of course, the nuns were unaware. That dinner stands out in my memory, and my gratitude to the kind nuns was unbounded.”


Witness Statement of Brighid O’Mullane from Bureau of Military Archives