Cavan Gaol was erected in 1810 and had 68 cells which could accommodate 150 prisoners. A female section was erected in 1830. George Gallogly was the governor from 1832-1860 and was succeeded by his son. It was a debtors prison so if you had signed guarantee for a friend and they reneged on payment you would have to go to Gaol! Cavan prison had a doctor and chemist on staff. Some inmates broke out by whittling away at the railings and replacing them with wooden railings until they were ready to flee. Most convicts were held in Cavan for a short period of time and the most common crimes were for men, the illegal distilling of Alcohol and for women, being drunk and disorderly. Poteen was also allegedly brewed in the prison.
However not all crimes were so petty. Several murderers were held and hung here in Cavan Gaol. The gallows was to the front of the Goal and crowds including family members of the condemned would gather on Farnham Street, in front of what is now Cavan No. One School, to witness the hangings. The most famous hanging that took place here has to be of Hugh Reynolds. Hugh was hung for the abduction of a local girl, Catherine McCabe. Hugh claimed that he and Catherine were in love and that Catherine had married him of her own free will while her family claimed he had kidnapped her and forced her to marry him. Hugh was found guilty and excuted in 1826, but lives on in the old folksong the Ballad of Hugh Reynolds.
The Gaol closed by order in 1886 and was demolished in 1942 to make way for St Felim’s Boys School.