Kilmainham Jail, Dublin

78 Reviews

Inchicore Road, Dublin 8 +00 353 (0)1 453 5984

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  • The prison after it was improved?
    The prison after it was improved?
    by SusanVC
  • Lock of Michael Collins' hair
    Lock of Michael Collins' hair
    by Maryimelda
  • Some very witty cartoons.
    Some very witty cartoons.
    by Maryimelda
  • Kilmainham Jail and the Easter Uprising 1916

    by Mariajoy Updated Sep 27, 2005

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    This is one place you MUST visit when you are in Dublin. Take a number 79 bus out of the city to Kilmainham - it takes about 10 minutes. This jail held the leaders of the Easter Uprising of 1916 and they were executed here.

    There is a guided tour which lasts about an hour and costs 5 Euro. It is given in English but the talk is VERY fast, and of a detailed political nature. I had difficulty following it as the tour guide had a very pronounced accent and I wondered how much a non-English speaker would actually understand.

    The building is exceptionally cold and dark in places, especially the old wing, and you can get a feel of how life must have been for prisoners held there. 200-150 years ago, imprisonable offences ranged from murder, larceny, and rape to the stealing of bread, turnips and a coat. Children as young as 6 or 7 were held here in the same cells as adults. It was grim. Many are buried under the slabs in the "exercise" yard. Many were transported to the colonies where, after they had completed their sentences, they were free and had much better lives than those that remained.

    During the famine years life in prison was marginally better than life outside - often minor offences were committed purely to get the miscreant into jail where at least they were guaranteed a roof and a small amount of food each day.

    The new wing has been used in the films The Italian Job with Michael Caine and also The Name of the Father with Daniel Day Lewis.

    Kilmainham Gaol Cell door
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    Kilmainham Gaol

    by jo104 Updated Sep 27, 2005

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    The Gaol was built in 1796 on a hill with the idea that the fresh air would be good for the prisoners, although no glass in the windows & porous limestone walls illness quickly spread.

    Men & women were kept separate in the Gaol & even children were sent here for petty crimes luck stealing potatoes. One man was held for 7 years for stealing a cart wheel. Photo’s were taken with a mirror to get the side profile.

    14 leaders of the 1916 Easter uprising for Irish independence were held & executed here. Joseph Plunkett got married to Grace Gifford & executed 2 hours later.

    The East wing was modernised & it was known as the all seeing eye. Prisoners were not allowed to talk & there were carpets on the floors outside the cells so prisoners could not hear the footsteps of the gaurds.

    During the famine the jail was overcrowded, sometimes up to 6 in a cell made for one, people were committing crimes so as to get their 2 small meals in jail

    Sometimes they have art galleries in the Jail cells of the East wing

    Entrance into museum & guided tour is Euro 5

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  • IrishFem's Profile Photo

    Kilmainham Jail

    by IrishFem Updated Sep 27, 2005

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    Kilmainham Jail is now the biggest unoccupied jail in Ireland. It opened in 1796, and closed in 1924. Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were detained here. Famous names like Robert Emmet, Thomas Francis Meagher, Charles Stewart Parnell, DeValera and all the leaders of the 1916 Rising, were all interned in the jail. At the execution of the 1916 leaders in Kilmainham jail they were blindfolded and a piece of paper cloth was put on each chest as a target. The soldiers then passed their rifles behind them to be loaded because one of the rifles was loaded with a blank round so none of them knew for sure that they had shot anyone.
    A visit to the jail includes a guided tour and exhibition which will cost you €5. You can enter the jail without having the tour to see the exhibition it won't cost you anything.
    Opening times are from April to September 9.30am to 5pm daily. October to March Mon to Sat 9.30 to 4pm.

    Kilmainham Jail..

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    Kilmainham Jail

    by Dazzle88 Written Apr 18, 2004

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    I found Kilmainham jail to be one of my favorite places. The tour was very interesting. The jail was very dark and cold, and you could almost feel the spirts. The tour takes you to the main room (in the picture) and also through the rest of the jail, including the execution rooms, and courtyards.

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    Within these walls . . .

    by acemj Updated Jun 7, 2003

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    Bleak is the only word that comes to mind. I'm sure the prisoners might have had the same thought.

    Kilmainham Goal was a great place to visit for me because I learned a lot about the many rebels who were jailed here and about the struggles for independence of this young country.

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    Kilmainham

    by acemj Updated Jun 7, 2003

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    The foreboding stone entrance to the jail can get pretty busy in the summer time, so you might have to wait in line. However, when I visited on a cold day in mid-May there was no wait at all. They have family rates too, so call to inquire about this. I believe it's 11 euro for a family.

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    A solemn yard . . .

    by acemj Updated Jun 7, 2003

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    During the tour, you'll be taken to the this yard where children who were housed at the prison were allowed exactly one hour a day to exercise (not play). Ironically, this is also where the leaders of the Easter Rising were executed in 1916.

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    Kilmainham Gaol

    by acemj Updated Jun 7, 2003

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    Between 1796 and 1924, this jail was not a pleasant place to be. The guided tour gives you a realistic view of the conditions for the inmates who were housed here. It also explains things in a historical context and gives you a good idea of what things were like on the outside too. For example, during the Irish Potato Famine, life was so hard on the outside that people committed petty crimes to get put in jail in order to ensure a meal.

    I was glad to have visited on a cold and wet day because it gave me an idea of the cold and wet conditions experienced in the musty cells of the jail.

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  • Krumel's Profile Photo

    Kilmainham Gaol

    by Krumel Updated Jun 4, 2003

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    Kilmainham Gaol was in use between 1796 and 1924 and you get a great feeling for Irish history in that place. It has seen a long row of Irish rebels coming through its gates (and into its cells), starting with the United Irishmen of 1796 up to the rebels of the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Civil War, with the future Irish president Eamon de Valera being the last prisoner to leave Kilmainham in 1924. One of the most gruesome points in its history must have been when 14 leaders of the Easter Rising were executed in Stonebreaker’s Yard in May 1916. One of them, James Connolly, had been so badly wounded during the rising that he was not able to stand and was therefore shot while tied to a chair. These executions caused in shift in public attitude towards the rising. While a large part of the Irish people did not support the rising originally, this act of brutality by the British Army made many people change their minds and gave new impetus to the Irish wish for freedom, leading to the War of Independence from 1919 – 1921.

    A visit to Kilmainham starts with an interesting exhibition about the history of the jail, capital punishment and about the Irish rebellions whose participants filled Kilmainham's cells. A very good and informative guided tour will then take you to the main hall where parts of the film “In the Name of the Father” were shot. From there it goes on to the chapel where Joseph Plunkett married Grace Gifford just hours before his execution. You will also see Stonebreaker’s Yard, and a rather dark, damp and draughty prison tract. So don’t dress too lightly when you visit Kilmainham.

    Kilmainham Gaol
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  • mrdarius's Profile Photo

    Go directly to gaol

    by mrdarius Updated May 14, 2003

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    Old Kilmainham Gaol (Jail), where political and other prisoners used to be held, is my top must-see for Dublin. In its partially renovated state, Kilmainham Gaol chilled me while the tour guide told stories of executions, child prisoners and overcrowding.

    The jail has been used in movies like Michael Collins and Chicago. With knowledgable tour guides and even a slide show in the old jail chapel, the tour gives a great summary of Irish history. The guide even stayed and talked for a half hour after the tour's end and recommended books for further reading.

    Main Hall of Kilmainham Gaol (Jail)
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  • Bigs's Profile Photo

    Kilmainham Gaol

    by Bigs Written Sep 12, 2002

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    Old and famous prison. You might know the inside from 'In the name of the father',what was filmed here! Take a guided tour and you will learn a lot about the Easterrising 1916 and all the prisoners who have 'lived' and died in these cold, stoney cells!

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    Kilmainham Goal dates from...

    by irisbe Updated Aug 25, 2002

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    Kilmainham Goal dates from 1789 but was restaurated in the 60ties.
    During it's 130 years of existance, it housed a lot of famous Irish resistants. Among them Robert Emmet and Charles Stewart Parnell.
    The very last prisoner was Eamon de Valera, later became president of Ireland, released on 16th July 1924!

    MORE PICTURES IN MY TRAVELOGUE!
    A guide will lead you through all the places, beginning in the Chapel where Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford got married just before his execution, followed by his participation of the revolt of 1916.
    The end of the tour brings you to the innercourt where the deadly wounded James Connolly was but into a chair (because he was too weak to stand up) facing a fire execution peleton.
    You will be taken along the small and unhealthy cell where so many rebels has been imprissoned.
    It is a pity that the day before my visit (March 2001)they just removed the Asgard, the ship on which in 1914 the Nationalists had smuggled weapons from Germany, and by doing so breaking through British blokades.
    The Asgard is in restauration.

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  • Nantosvelta's Profile Photo

    Kilmainham Goal

    by Nantosvelta Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    This prison, last used as such in 1924 is now a museum about Ireland's quest for independence.
    The exhibition give insight in the stories of the sufferingd of famous patriots awaiting their transportation or execution.
    Kilmainham Goal is also the place where the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed.

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  • ciaramalone's Profile Photo

    Kilmainham Gaol.IF for no...

    by ciaramalone Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Kilmainham Gaol.IF for no other reason, Kilmainham Gaol would is remarkable for being the biggest unoccupied gaol in europe.
    Touching in so many ways on the people and forces that shaped modern Ireland, Kilmainham Gaol offers a panoramic insight into some of the most profound, disturbing and inspirational themes of modern Irish history.

    A visit to the Gaol includes a guided tour, an audio–visual presentation and an exhibition.


    Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were detained here. The names of Robert Emmet, Thomas Francis Meagher, Charles Stewart Parnell, the leaders of the 1916 Rising, DeValera and a host of other famous names are associated with the Gaol.

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    And if you want to know more...

    by luciano Written Aug 24, 2002

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    And if you want to know more of the history of the Republic, the tour of Kilmainham Gaol, the former State Jail, is very instructive and interesting.
    Sequences of the film In the name of the Father were shot here.

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