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NileGuide Expert Says:
This is probably Dublin's most sombre place, but one that no visitor should miss
Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, Ireland
(01) 453 5984
NileGuide Expert tip:
Wrap up warmly - it's always cool here and in winter positively chilly.
A visit - Nationalists would call it a pilgrimage - to Kilmainham Gaol is crucial to an understanding of the hardships faced by the Irish people under British rule, from the 13 year-old boy incarcerated here for two weeks for stealing turnips for his hungry family, to the many political prisoners who spent decades here. Before the guided tour spend as long as possible in the modern museum section to get the historical background of the country's many uprisings. Built in 1796, ironically Kilmainham was progressive for its day, though mind-numbing "correction" procedures, such as moving cannonballs from point A to point B, and then back again, were still in use. After visiting the original crumbling cells where famous prisoners were kept behind bars, the tour ends, fittingly, in the courtyard where the leaders of the Eater 1916 Rising were executed. The prison closed in 1924 and one of its last inmates was Eamon de Valera, pardoned for his role in the Easter Rising thanks to his American passport. He went on to become leader of the Irish government on no less than three occasions.