Kilmainham Gaol#7 in Best Things To Do in Dublin
According to many, this gaol, or jail, gives its visitors one of the most unique looks into the darker side Irish history. Occupied from 1796 to the 1920s, the prison housed many famous figures in the fight for Irish independence, including Thomas Francis Meagher and James Connolly, and was also the site for more sinister executions and hangings. Additionally, the prison acted as a transportation point for approximately 4,000 prisoners to the convict colony of Australia in the early 19th century. The gaol was known for the harsh treatment of its inhabitants, with no segregation by gender until 1881 when it became an all-male prison and overcrowding forced staff to place up to five inmates in cells designed for one.
Now a preserved museum, Kilmainham Gaol is very popular among visitors – many reported having to wait for the guided tour. Visitors suggested getting there early to ensure entry or booking an online timed ticket, but even those who had to wait said it was well worth it thanks to the knowledgeable, passionate guides. While you're waiting to tour the prison, check out the museum exhibit describing the history of the prison and its preservation or grab a quick snack at the on-site cafe.
Kilmainham Gaol is located just west of central Dublin near Phoenix Park. Several bus routes stop near the prison, including nos. 69 and 79 from Aston Quay and nos. 13 and 40 from O'Connell Street. The nearest tram stop is the red line's Suir Road. It is open to the public throughout the year, but hours vary depending on the season; generally, it's open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission costs 9 euros (about $11) for adults and 5 euros (about $6) for children. There is a discount if you book online in advance. For more information, visit the former prison's website.
More Best Things To Do in Dublin
#1 Trinity College and The Book of Kells
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College is Ireland's oldest and most notable college. Among its alumni are such renowned writers as Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. Today, visitors from around the world come to explore the college's verdant campus and towering Gothic-style halls.
But the real reason to visit is to take a gander inside the Old Library. These hallowed halls house an amazing collection of literature. Of all the books at the Old Library, the most famous and priceless one is the "Book of Kells." This illustrated version of the gospels was created around A.D. 800 by Celtic monks. The manuscripts' pages come to life with vibrantly hued depictions of Christ and his followers, bordered by intricate Celtic knots and other designs. Whether or not you're religious, previous visitors agreed that seeing the "Book of Kells" in person is truly a sacred experience. Although some visitors complained of crowds in the library, most agreed the "Book of Kells" is a must-see.
Explore More of Dublin
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.