During the nineteenth century, the Wicklow Gaol building was expanded numerous times.

Following the Rebellion of 1798 the reports of the Inspector General remarked upon the impact on the gaol of the large number of prisoners held within its walls. It was feared that the walls would collapse.

By the 1820s a new building had been erected but the authorities were unhappy with the quality of workmanship. Apparently it was felt by the Governor that low quality materials had been used by the builder. It was recommended that payments should be withheld until matters were rectified.

With this new addition, Wicklow Gaol could now boast:

  • 6 yards;
  • 5 small day rooms;
  • 2 work rooms;
  • 34 cells;
  • 2 solitary cells;
  • a chapel;
  • an infirmary;
  • a ‘marshalsea’ (prison for debtors).

However, it soon became obvious that the method of controlling prisoners, the system of silence and separation, was unenforceable due to the confines of the structure.

Later Expansion

From as early as 1836 the Inspectors General were advocating that another addition should be built onto the Gaol. By 1840 the Grand Jury had placed £10,000 aside for construction work. It was completed in 1843, to now include:

  • 77 cells;
  • 6 day rooms;
  • 4 yards;
  • a public kitchen;
  • a chapel – “minutely divided for seventy prisoners”
  • a tread wheel;
  • a hospital;
  • a laundry.