Kilmainham Gaol Museum, Dublin’s former prison

Kilmainham Gaol Museum – Príosún Chill Mhaighneann

Kilmainham Gaol (Irish: Príosún Chill Mhaighneann) was the former prison until 1924. Many Irish revolutionaries, the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, imprisoned and executed in prison by the British. Now, is a museum, the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland, manages and run the museum. One of the most famous Irish monuments of the modern period, concerning the struggle for Irish independence.

Kilmainham Gaol Museum
Kilmainham Gaol Entrance

History

Firstly, built in 1796, and called the “New Gaol” to distinguish it from the old prison in the Irish independence period. Most importantly, intended to replace a noisome dungeon, just a few hundred metres from the present site. Therefore, the County of Dublin Gaol and initially run by the Grand Jury for County Dublin.

kilmainham gaol cells hall
Kilmainham Gaol Cells Hall

At Kilmainham, women prisoners were in poor conditions in which women prisoners provided the spur for the next stage of development. However, in 1809, In the Inspector report, male prisoners had iron bedsteads while females and quote ‘lay on straw on the flags in the cells and common halls.’

Half a century later there was little improvement. As a result, in the women’s section, located in the west wing, that is to say, that remained overcrowded. In an attempt to relieve the overcrowding 30 female cells were added to the Gaol in 1840. These improvements had not been made long before the Great Famine occurred, and Kilmainham was overwhelmed with the increase of prisoners.

Kilmainham Gaol Museum Permanent Exhibition

The main exhibition at Kilmainham Gaol Museum tells the story of the social and political history of the prison. Three main themes are explored on three levels of the exhibition space:

  • The social history of Kilmainham and Irish prisons in the 1800s.
  • The history of Irish nationalism and republicanism, 1796-1924.
  • The restoration of Kilmainham in the 1960s.

Admission:

  • Adult: €8.00
  • Students: €4.00
  • Seniors: €6.00
  • Children: € 4.00
  • Family: €20.00

Be sure to check their opening hours online as they depend on the month. (usually from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) From the Dublin Citi Hotel, you need about 40 minutes to walk to the Kilmainham Gaol. You can book tickets here

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