The Kilmainham Gaol museum is a former prison in Dublin where criminals were imprisoned, and at times executed for their crimes. It is a fascinating, imposing and very unique place when it comes to things to do in Dublin.
What you need to know about Kilmainham Gaol
City: Dublin, United Kingdom
Access: Entry tickets will cost you €8 for adults, €4 for children and €20 for a family ticket.
Fact: The former prison has a dark past with several notable executions taking place there in its colourful history. It is where multiple Irish revolutionaries of yesteryear were put to death, including those who led the Easter Rising of 1916 against the British.
You can only see Kilmainham Gaol by joining an official tour
Given the complexity and uniqueness of the former prison building, to see Kilmainham Gaol at all you must join a tour. The tours are at specific times and, unsurprisingly given the venue, are timed and fairly regimented (Globedge note: don't worry they are still fascinating & fun!)
To make sure you can get a place on a tour it is definitely one attraction in Dublin to make sure you have booked in advance for.
The prison held all types of criminals
The prison evokes thoughts of the most-hardened criminals in Ireland. In fact Kilmainham Gaol was a county prison so was 'home' to criminals whose crime could have been as petty as stealing some food or similarly benign misdemeanours.
There were certainly also more unsavoury types there; murderers, rapists and convicts who were awaiting transportation to the other side of the world in Australia all frequented the cells over the years.
Most infamously, prisoners such as Henry Joy McCracken, Robert Emmet, Anne Devlin, Charles Stewart Parnell and the leaders of 1916 uprising all are synonymous with the prison.
You will learn all about the inmates, the jailers, the British Army guards who looked over certain prisoners at times and how the rich tapestry of Irish history (and Dublin's story) influenced who ended up 'spending time' here.
There are many attractions in Dublin and Kilmainham Gaol is the most unique and certainly one of the most fascinating and educational. A trip there has got to be on your list of Dublin travel plans. Just be on your best behaviour when you do in case they lock you up and throw away the key.... cue evil laugh 😉