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One of Dublins must-see attractions!
Kilmainham Jail (Dublin County)
Member Name: Matheson80
Kilmainham Jail (Dublin County)
Date: 22/08/12, updated on 23/08/12 (17 review reads)
Advantages: A wonderfull tour, filled with history and atmposphere
Disadvantages: A bit out of the way, in the west end of the city.
Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin is one of the first 'modern' prisions in history, and is situated in the west of the city, athough when it was originally built, it was positioned in the countryside, away from the local population.
When you visit many of the more historic sites around Dublin, the story of independence, and the Easter rising is never far away, but there are few places that bring that story to you in such a moving way as it does here.
As with many of the tourist attractions in Dublin, there is no real parking near by, I would recommend getting on of the regular busses that pass by, otherwise it is probably a 15-20 min walk from Heuston Station where there are bus and regular Luas line tram stops.
During April - September, the museum is open 09.30 - 18.00 daily, and October - March it is 09.30 - 17.30 Mon - Sat & 10.00 - 18.00 Sunday. Adult admission is Euro6.00, with Students/Kids Euro2.00.
The front (and only!) entrance to the jail is as foreboding and as imposing as you could imagine, and on the (rainy) July day we arrived, there was a small queue outside, but the assistant at the door was friendly & chatty, and even offered his umbrella to a couple of rather under-prepared tourists.
Once inside, depending on how booked-out the tours are, you may have a bit of a time to pass until your slot comes, thankfully, there is a wonderfull museum on more than one level situated at the waiting area. Its packed full of the history of the prison, and jails in general. We had over half an hour to wait for our tour, but we never even got time to see the 1st floor of the museum, it was that interesting!
As it was busy, our group was pretty large, and this did make things a bit frustrating at times, as some areas are pretty narrow.
After being led through a courtyard, your tour begins with a short talk in the chapel, and this really sets the scene, giving you some history of the prision, and some stories regarding selection of inmates.
The tour itself is wonderfull, and begins by winding you through the narrow corridors of the older parts of the gaol. These areas are draughty and damp, and must have been horrible to stay in, despite the fact this jail was built to improve the conditions of inmates. You are then led through to the more recent wings which you may even recognise from a few movies, including the Italian Job, here you get a chance to wander about a few cells and get an idea of the cramped conditions.
All the way our friendly guide informed us of the history of the Irish rebellions, and told the personal experiences of some of the key figures involved, that were imprisioned here. These tales really add a dergee of emotional impact to the tour, and gives you get a real impression of the suffering of the time.
All in all, both me and my partner agreed that Kilmainham Gaol was one of the most interesting places to visit in the whole of Dublin, and we have seen a lot of the city!
Moving and atmospheric, who would have thought visiting a jail would be so interesting!
Summary: One of the best sites to visit in Dublin. Have a goal of a time (sorry, couldnt resist...)
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