Kilmainham Gaol Museum

Príosún Chill Mhaighneann

Kilmainham Gaol (Irish: Príosún Chill Mhaighneann) is a former prison in Kilmainham, Dublin, Ireland. It is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland. Many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed in the prison by the British.

Kilmainham Gaol Entrance

History

Kilmainham Gaol (Irish: Príosún Chill Mhaighneann) is a former prison in Kilmainham, Dublin, Ireland. It is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland. Many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed in prison by the British.

When it was first built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol was called the “New Gaol” to distinguish it from the old prison. It was intended to replace a noisome dungeon, just a few hundred metres from the present site. It was officially called the County of Dublin Gaol and was initially run by the Grand Jury for County Dublin.

kilmainham_gaol_cells_hall
Kilmainham Gaol Cells Hall

At Kilmainham, the poor conditions in which women prisoners were kept provided the spur for the next stage of development. As early as his 1809 report the Inspector had observed that male prisoners were supplied with iron bedsteads while females ‘lay on straw on the flags in the cells and common halls.’ Half a century later there was little improvement. The women’s section, located in the west wing, 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 Gaol and Irish prisons in the 1800s.
  • The history of Irish nationalism and republicanism, 1796-1924.
  • The restoration of Kilmainham Gaol 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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