Irish Alcatraz?

Belfast developers plan on turning a Victorian-era jail into a tourist attraction, hotel, and art gallery. Her Majesty’s Prison Belfast closed in 1996, and is a symbol of The Troubles, the long struggle in Northern Ireland for Irish independence.

"Belfast is undergoing significant tourism development, particularly in the new Titanic Quarter, but older areas face particular challenges because of their experiences during Northern Ireland's civil conflict and the need to preserve historic sites and neighborhoods.

Preliminary plans for the prison include two of the four wings being turned into a museum and the others into a hotel or hostel. Buildings that formerly housed guards are to be renovated as a restaurant and an international art gallery, and yards that prisoners once walked are to be turned into community gardens.

The community action unit is raising funds for the redevelopment project this year by hosting a "businessperson ransom," in which local business leaders are to be "imprisoned" in the jail until their company makes a donation."

Full Story: Belfast Group Seeks Investors in Prison Redevelopment Project

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