Students protect Sligo’s heritage in Gaol project
The first year students completed survey drawings of the Gaol as their final Computer Aided Design (CAD) project. These are now available for public use through the County Sligo Reference Library.
Despite its key role in the history of the nation through the Famine, Land War and Civil War, many people are unaware of the existence of the distinctive building, which opened in 1818. Sligo County Council, which acquired the building after it closed in 1956, recently commenced a conservation plan for the building.
Lecturer at IT Sligo, Rowan Watson, explained that the drawings will be a useful resource for the council and members of the public; “This was a great practical, hands-on project for the students which will benefit the wider community.
“The first year Quantity Surveying class were split into groups and tasked with capturing the interior measurements of Cell Block B through CAD. The best drawings were selected and presented to the council for public use. The detailed drawings can be used as an historical reference to how buildings were constructed in the 1800s and may be used by the council as part of the conservation works.
“It was a challenging but useful learning experience for the students, which also exposed them this type of historic stone construction. One interesting fact uncovered by the students was that the upstairs walls are thicker than the downstairs walls, which is unusual but possibly due to the fact that the cells were located upstairs.”
Siobhan Ryan, Heritage Office with Sligo County Council, said “There are currently no drawings of the interior of this historic building, so these survey drawings are a very useful public resource. There are many historic buildings in Sligo currently without surveys”.
Rowan Watson added that the Institute hope to continue collaborating with the council on projects of mutual benefit for the students and the public; “It is our intention that our students will continue to survey buildings. We hope to continuing to collaborating with the council on these types of projects.”
The Gaol was built to a polygonal plan with the governor’s house at the centre. The principal surviving buildings include cell blocks, the debtors’ prison, the three-story lunatics’ asylum and the two-storey governor’s residence.
The survey drawings are accessible at County Sligo’s Reference Library.
Image Caption top right: Pictured at the presentation of the Sligo Gaol drawings are the Sligo County Heritage Officer, Siobhan Ryan, some of the students involved in the project, Darragh Mc Menamin, Kieran Mulhern, Trevor Nee, Conal Gilmore, IT Sligo lecturer, Rowan Watson, and Donal Tinney, County Librarian