Construction of the gaol began in 1814 and it was ready for partial occupation in 1818, at a cost of £22,000 for the initial building. The total cost for the whole gaol construction was £30,000.
Additions to the building included the building of a treadmill and improvements to the Marshalsea (debtor’s prison).
The gaol was built by local builder John Lynn. It was designed to hold 200 inmates in a polygonal-shaped building, with the Governor's residence situated in the centre of the prison.
At the height of the famine, there were 291 inmates recorded in the gaol and this is the highest ever recorded in the history in the prison. Of those prisoners fifty-five were awaiting transportation to Australia, one hundred and forty-four were under sentence, fifty-three were awaiting trial, there were three recorded as lunatics and eighteen debtors.
In 1918, Michael Collins was held in the Gaol after making a speech against conscription to the British army. In his prison diary his recurrent observation is that he could not sleep and ‘must get this wretched mattress changed’. He also records that ‘by standing on my table I can see Knocknareagh.’
Distance from St Angela’s: 8.2 km