Kilmainham Gaol – Recommended by Rick Steves
Kilmainham Gaol (jail) and immerse yourself in the history of the Irish revolutionary spirit.
First constructed in 1796, the Gaol was home to the detained leaders of at least five revolutions against British rule in Ireland.
On there tour you will hear about the Gaol’s most famous prisoners including the leaders of the 1916 Rising, many of whom were executed in the prison yard – also seen on the tour! And it was these very executions which led to the rise of the independence movement in Ireland and the country’s eventual self-determination in December of 1922.
Other famous detainees included ‘the uncrowned king of Ireland’, Charles Stuart Parnell, President Eamon de Valera and freedom fighter Robert Emmet all landmark figures in the course of shaping Irish history and the battle for Irish independence. With no segregation of prisoners, children as young as seven, arrested for petty theft, were also among the Gaol’s detainees.
While Kilmainham Gaol is remembered as a place of suffering, the Gaol is also a national memorial and a unique example of Victorian architecture in its own right.
Victorian Architecture and Art!
Top Tip! If you are interested in modern art you’ll definitely be interested in visiting the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which is located a short walk from Kilmainham Gaol, literally across the road. Take a stroll through the grounds of what was once the Royal Hospital to and visit both attractions at your own leisure.