Press Release The Trial

The Trial

The Trial is a compelling multi-screen visual art installation on healthcare and human rights in the Irish criminal justice system. Directed and produced by Visual Artist Sinead McCann, The Trial is a collaborative artwork made with men from the Bridge Project, Dublin, who have lived prison experiences, and draws from historical research by UCD historians, Catherine Cox and Fiachra Byrne. It will be exhibited from 13-26 April in the Old Courthouse, Kilaminham Goal Museum, Dublin 8.

Three characters – Tommy, Charlie, Neilí  – tell the real-life stories of those who were held and worked in Irish penal institutions during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Tommy, played by Irish actor Tommy O’Neill, (Inspector; Irish drama Fair City), performs a series of monologues created by five men from the Bridge Project about their own experience of healthcare in Irish prison and draws on individual cases from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The focus is on experiences of solitary confinement, dealing with separation from family, as well as men’s nutrition, and their mental and physical health while in prison.  O’Neill, who served a prison sentence in Ireland, brings his experience to the role.

Charlie, played by Charlie Hughes Farrell (Kildare Youth Theatre), delivers a series of monologues related to health and based on the men’s childhood experiences of detention in Saint Patrick’s Institution. It also draws on an official enquiry into conditions at Saint Patrick’s Institution in the 1960s.

Neilí, played by Irish actor Neilí Conroy (Kitty; Irish drama Love/Hate) performs responses from professionals working in the criminal justice field in Ireland to the monologues. These include representatives from the Irish Prison Service, a prison chaplain, an addiction counsellor, two ex-governors, and a representative from the Irish Penal Reform Trust.

The visual art installation offers multiple perspectives from people who have been held and have worked in Irish penal institutions on the long history of healthcare in prison, inviting visitors to reflect on individual experiences across history and on the human right to health.

  • Director and Producer: Visual Artist Sinead McCann
  • Script Writer: Sarah Meaney
  • Video Production: Sixbetween


Exhibition Run

13-26 April 2018, Old Courthouse in Kilmainham Goal Museum, Dublin 8. Entrance is Free. Find The Trial visual art installation at and register your free attendance for access to the art installation

Funded by the Arts Council, Dublin City Council and the Wellcome Trust.

Image credit: 2018. The Trial Art installation. Video Stills. © Sinead McCann & Sixbetween. All Rights Reserved.