From its opening in 1796 to finally closing its doors in 1924, Kilmainham Gaol has held an iconic place in Irish history. Built as Dublin’s County Gaol, it held hundreds of Irish patriots in its cells, from Robert Emmet and Anne Devlin in 1803 through to the leaders of the 1916 Rising, fourteen of whom were famously executed in the prison’s stonebreaker’s yard. It was also a place of suffering for thousands of ordinary men, women and children, whose petty crimes such as stealing food could lead to long interments and then a prison ship to Australia.
Today the Gaol is a happier place, where each year hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy learning about the lives of those who once lived within its walls. Kilmainham Gaol remains one of the most popular tourist sites in Ireland with visitors from both home and abroad.
A Pocket History of Kilmainham Gaol contains everything you need to know about one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions.