For over 120 years, Kilmainham Gaol was witness to some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history such as Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, the 1916 Rising leaders and Eamon de Valera, as well as the ordinary men and women of the city who suffered punishment or correction behind its imposing walls.
Kilmainham Gaol is remarkable for being the biggest unoccupied gaol in these islands, and offers the visitor a dramatic and realistic insight into what is was like to have been confined in one of these forbidding bastions of incarceration between 1796 when it opened and 1924 when it closed. It offers a panoramic insight into some of the most profound, disturbing and inspirational themes of modern Irish history. Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were detained and sometimes executed here. The Gaol also played a role during the harsh Famine times.
IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, occupies the historic Royal Kilmainham Hospital.
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