I thought of a nice, quiet Sunday and then realised I had to go to gaol...... Cork City Gaol that is!
Another activation on the cards, North Cork Radio Group were back in gaol for more contacts and fun hours. Cork City Gaol, which was a former womens prison, last allowed us inside in March 2011 and we were fortunate to make it out. But the location is an amazing one, and we always make great contacts there, so we found ourselves returning again... not something most people like to say out loud.
We arrived at the location and began to set up the station, which was the Yaesu FT 857 with a end fed dipole strung out approx 30m high across the very eerie exercise yard, and tied off to another building across the way, which was very imposing with high barred windows, overgrown rooms and bare steps. You could almost sense the despair from the ruins, and the worn out circle on the grass snapped you back in time where women truged around in a monotonous circle, the only outside activity they had.
The Gaol itself stands magnificently in the centre of the grounds, and even walking up the main steps fills you with a sense of dread, as the stone building lords its enormity and doom-filled thoughts over you. I for one would not like to have been a guest of this establishment.
The cells are tiny, bed were a wooden crate with a "blanket" so thin spiders couldve made it being the only source of heat and comfort allowed. Many a death occured in that building in my opinion, because if you were not killed, flogged or starving, then the cold would be the silent, most deadliest killer of them all.
We spent a total of 6 hours in the building and I was on the verge of turning into a block of ice. At one point, I left the building to get my fleece jacket from the car and the heat outside was a lot warmer than inside! I even considered moving the setup outdoors!! So if I felt like that after 6 hours, imagine 6 months, or 6 years!
But on the bright side, the contacts were great, the QSO's interesting and the day was a good one all around. We chatted to many of our friends as well as some new contacts. We even discovered that one of our members ancestors was a guest of the prison for 6 months in 1904!
It is also amazing to note that the first radio transmission from the location was in 1927 using the callsign 6CK.
But contrary to popular belief, I was naughty or bold enough to be kept there any longer than I had to so I was pleased to meet the sunshine once I stepped outside.
I look forward to returning again.
Ciao for now
73 de Lisa, EI9GSB