Who was here?
The history of modern Ireland is soaked into the walls of Kilmainham. Political prisoners were kept here (and sometimes executed, too) from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Beside them were thousands of ordinary people from all over Ireland, jailed for all sorts of crimes and waiting to be transported to Australia.
These poor souls were held in one of two wings. The older one, the West Wing, survives in its original state, and it still has the power to chill to the bone. This was home to political prisoners and the poorest criminals – often jailed for stealing food during the Famine – and life was hard.
The East Wing is light-filled and airy by comparison – but by no means luxurious. Its metal walkways and clanging cell doors are a classic jail set-up where guards can watch inmates at all time. Perhaps it looks familiar? That’s because you’ll have seen it in many films – In the Name of the Father, Michael Collins, even Paddington 2.