Built in 1746, the Courthouse and Gaol in Lifford, County Donegal is one of the oldest in Ireland, but serves today as a museum and local event venue. In a fun "live" tour, visitors mingle with actors playing 19th century prisoners and officers, who guide them around the building's original dungeons. Museum-goers thus get to experience what it was like to be a prisoner, and to be arrested by the prison guard. Tour guides assist them through the charging and fingerprinting processes. Some may get (briefly) thrown into solitary confinement, or even into the stocks! The experience is particularly fun for kids, who enjoy the scariness of it all.
One of the actors at Lifford Courthouse -- Keeping the kids well behaved
Famous Trial Re-Enactments
Visitors may also attend re-enactments of some of the most historic trials held here. These include the trial of the 18th century John Mc Naughton, who became known as the Half-Hanged McNaughton due to his botched execution, and whose ghost -- according to local legend! -- is said to haunt Prehen House in nearby Derry City.
Restaurant / Cafe
There is also a fine cafe / restaurant on site, serving home made food, teas and baked treats.
Opening Hours and Admission
- Monday 10am – 2pm (note: last tour starts 2pm)
- Tuesday 10am – 3.30pm
- Wednesday 10am – 2pm
- Thursday 10am – 3.30pm
- Friday 10am – 3.30pm
- Adults €6 euros
- Children €3 euros
- Seniors €4 euros
- Student €4 euros
- Family (2 adults & 2 children) €15 euros
Groups and ToursLifford Courthouse welcomes large groups and school tours, though these should be booked in advance. See official site below for more details.
Lifford Courthouse. Image by John Campbell