Dundalk Gaol was designed circa 1847 by John Neville, Chief Surveyor for the County of Louth who also oversaw the design and construction of a number of Dundalk’s notable buildings including its magnificent courthouse in Market Square. This Gaol featured prominently during the Anglo-Irish struggle and some of it’s most famous inmates were John Dillon MP (1888); Austin Stack (1917) the well known Kerry footballer; Sean Tracy (1917-1918) comrade and friend of Dan Breen; and Frank Aiken (1922) who later became one of the longest serving TD’s and Ministers in Irish Government.
The lease for the male wing at Dundalk Gaol was generously donated to Comhaltas in 2008, by Louth County Council, with a view to developing a regional cultural centre. The Oriel Centre, Dundalk Gaol is now one of eight strategically placed regional resource centres under the auspices of Comhaltas which were established through it’s Cultural Development Programme.
Today, the Oriel Centre at Dundalk Gaol combines the role of a cultural resource centre, a visitor attraction, a social and a performance space, which has made a significant contribution to the development of tourism locally and beyond. It’s location within the historic setting of Dundalk Gaol, offers a unique opportunity to provide a comprehensive approach to the development of our cultural traditions alongside the support of our cultural heritage.
Comhaltas: Blog: RTÉ Raidió 1: Céilí House from Oriel Centre: