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Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum

This infamous and eerie former prison is a fitting place to hear the grisly story of Ireland’s punitive past and the struggle for independence from British rule.

Visit Kilmainham Gaol where prisoners were held for nearly 150 years, ending with Ireland’s most turbulent days of revolution. Learn all about the painful struggle for independence by the Irish nationalists. The heroic and tragic events that took place here come alive during an audio-visual exhibit and guided tour.

After it was completed in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol held many famous prisoners, as well as poor citizens, including children, accused of petty theft and begging. Many of the inmates were deported to Australia afterwards. Not all prisoners made it out alive; public hangings took place here until the 1820s. During the days of nationalism the jail became as legendary as its inmates. It was a feared final destination. Famous prisoners included 28-year-old Joseph Plunkett, who was among those behind the Easter Rising of 1916. He married in prison just before he was executed by a firing squad. The prison closed in 1924. A restoration society turned it into the Kilmainham Goal Historical Museum in 1960.

Enter the dungeon-like corridors and visit the audio-visual exhibition that recounts the history of the prison. Follow one of the knowledgeable tour guides to hear grisly accounts of torture and rebellion. Cells were overcrowded and women slept on straw beds in common halls. 

Listen to the chilling story of the 1916 Easter Rising and the executions of its leaders in the former Stonebreakers yard. You may recognize the central hall with its caged galleries and staircases leading to solitary cells; it was used as a setting in the 1993 biographical movie In the Name of The Father and the 2008 thriller The Escapist. Don’t miss the exhibit on the top level showing art by present-day inmates of jails around the country.

The Kilmainham Gaol is open daily, except Christmas. Access is by guided tour only, which takes an hour. It’s a good idea to arrive early in high season. The museum is located two miles (3.5 kilometers) west from the center of Dublin, near Phoenix Park. You can get there by tram and bus or by Dublin’s hop-on, hop-off bus tour. There is a tearoom for refreshments. 


Guide to Exploring Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum


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Hilton Dublin Kilmainham €94
Hilton Dublin Kilmainham

Hilton Dublin Kilmainham

South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin, Dublin
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Kilmainham, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum, Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and Phoenix Park. Pearse Lyons Whiskey Distillery and Dublin Zoo are also within 1 mi (2 km). Suir Road Station is 8 minutes by foot and Goldenbridge Station is 12 minutes.

    Ashling Hotel Dublin €94
    Ashling Hotel Dublin

    Ashling Hotel Dublin

    10-13 Parkgate Street, Dublin 8, Dublin, Dublin
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in City Centre Dublin, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Guinness Storehouse, Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle. St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College are also within 2 mi (3 km). Heuston Station and Museum Station are within a 5-minute walk.

      Modrn Apartment in Prime Location €194
      Modrn Apartment in Prime Location

      Modrn Apartment in Prime Location

      Inchicore Road, 102 Kilmainham Square, Dublin, Dublin
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Kilmainham, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum and Phoenix Park. Dublin Zoo and Guinness Storehouse are also within 1 mile (2 km). Suir Road Station is 10 minutes by foot and Goldenbridge Station is 14 minutes.

        Kilmainham Square 2 Bedroom Flat
        Kilmainham Square 2 Bedroom Flat

        Kilmainham Square 2 Bedroom Flat

        Kilmainham Square, Dublin, Dublin (region)
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Kilmainham, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum and Phoenix Park. Dublin Zoo and Guinness Storehouse are also within 1 mile (2 km). Suir Road Station is 10 minutes by foot and Goldenbridge Station is 14 minutes.

          Spacious 3 Bedroom Apartment
          Spacious 3 Bedroom Apartment

          Spacious 3 Bedroom Apartment

          Kilmainham Square, Inchicore Road, Dublin, Dublin (region)
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Kilmainham, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum and Phoenix Park. Dublin Zoo and Guinness Storehouse are also within 1 mile (2 km). Suir Road Station is 9 minutes by foot and Goldenbridge Station is 13 minutes.

            Central 2 Bedroom Dublin Home
            Central 2 Bedroom Dublin Home

            Central 2 Bedroom Dublin Home

            rowserstown lane,Kilmainham, Dublin, Dublin (region)
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Dublin, this cottage is within a 15-minute walk of Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum and Phoenix Park. Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Zoo are also within 1 mile (2 km). Suir Road Station is 9 minutes by foot and Rialto Station is 11 minutes.

              Jurys Inn Dublin Parnell Street €58
              Jurys Inn Dublin Parnell Street

              Jurys Inn Dublin Parnell Street

              Moore Street Plaza, Parnell Street, Dublin, Dublin
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in City Centre Dublin, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Rotunda Hospital and O'Connell Street. Parnell Square and O'Connell Bridge are also within 10 minutes. Abbey Street Station is 7 minutes by foot and Jervis Station is 8 minutes.

                2 Bedroom Penthouse With Private Terrace
                2 Bedroom Penthouse With Private Terrace

                2 Bedroom Penthouse With Private Terrace

                Kilmainham Lane, Dublin, Dublin (region)
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Dublin, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum and Phoenix Park. Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Zoo are also within 1 mile (2 km). Suir Road Station is 10 minutes by foot and James's Station is 10 minutes.