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History of the Old Ground Hotel

The original part of the Old Ground was built in the early part of the eighteenth century adjacent to Jail Street. Next door to the Old Ground was the Town Hall, which incorporated a jail.

In former times there was a bridge leading from an upper window of the Town Hall across the street to an exercise ground for the prisoners. The Jail was used more as a depot where prisoners were kept while awaiting deportation to Australia and Tasmania.

It is not known exactly when the Jail ceased being used for that purpose. Afterwards the Grand Jury, who held the Jail on the payment of a shilling, gave it to another department in the then Government. It had been intended to open it as a Library, but it was, in fact, acquired by the Grand Jury once more.

It was used as a Court House and was closed again to a become a Library. It was then sold to the Town Commissioners who, in turn sold the entire premises to the O'Regans. Some years ago there were excavations carried out and dungeons were discovered under the building, with chains attached to the walls (the chains are now in the Ennis museum).

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