Insider Tips

While You're Here: Kilmainham Gaol

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
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Whilst visiting Kilmainham Gaol, it’s worth taking advantage of your location to check in on some other fascinating spots in close proximity, writes Totally Dublin editor, Michael McDermott.


The tranquility of Bully’s Acre, Dublin’s oldest graveyard, is in marked contrast to the activity back in its heyday when it was susceptible to bodysnatchers. This graveyard is home to “monks, knights, princes and citizens”, and had a colourful history prior to its closure in 1832 due to a cholera outbreak. The War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge are surprisingly still a relatively hidden secret to many Dubliners. Dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War of 1914 – 1918. The names of all the soldiers are contained in the beautifully illustrated Harry Clarke manuscripts in the granite bookrooms in the gardens. Sunken rose gardens enhance the peace and beauty of this space.

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The War Memorial Gardens, a real hidden gem

The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is the premiere place for contemporary Irish and international exhibitions. Housed in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the finest 17th century building in Ireland, IMMA is a consistent hit, with free entry to most exhibitions. Dublin Zoo brings out the kid in everyone. This resource in the Phoenix Park remains a popular draw. It recently celebrated the birth of two red ruffed lemur pups who are an endangered species, and its latest addition is Zoorassic World, which opens this summer. Also in the Phoenix Park, the 1,752-acre park grounds of Farmleigh estate serve as the main place for accommodating visiting dignitaries. Purchased by the state in 1999, it frequently holds weekend food and craft markets, music on its bandstand and free walking tours of its gardens.
 
Hidden away in south-east of the Park are the decaying ruins of a Magazine Fort, which dates from 1734. Captured during the Easter Rising of 1916 by Irish Volunteers, it’s currently undergoing conservation works and therefore only occasionally open to the public for guided tours. Unwinding at a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Centre is unlikely to have been on your ‘to do’ list when planning an Irish break, but why not? Meditation and mindfulness are quite rightly gaining in increased popularity within our pressure cooker lives. Introductions, talks and classes run weekly and are open to everyone
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Now that you’ve explored the area of Kilmainham, why not check out Michael’s suggested itineraries for other Dublin neighbourhood’s? Here are some fun, hidden gems around the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery and Trinity College.