Kilmainham Gaol

Visiting the jail at Kilmainham

Ireland has had a dramatic history, as fascinating and sometimes, as heartbreaking as its legends and myths. The country has faced many political upheavals, and the last two centuries (particularly from the 1780s to the 1920s) were marked by revolutions and uprisings as power shifted from one group to another.

Visitors of Ireland will hear a bit of this history in the museums and brochures they will come across during their stay. But to get a clearer and more concrete picture of Ireland’s history ‾ and hear the heroic and tragic stories of the individuals who gave their lives to their cause ‾ it is essential to visit some of the heritage sites.

Unfortunately very few of these are included in commercial tours. The best way to ensure that these heritage sites feature on your own itinerary is to hire a car in Dublin. Having a rental car enables you to enjoy Dublin on your own schedule and take detours into small but significant sites. Associates at local hire agencies can help you plan your car trip, enabling you to see both the major destinations and the little-known museums or exhibits that preserve turning points in the country’s dramatic history.

The Kilmainham Gaol is one of those sites not to be missed. It is the largest unoccupied gaol in Europe, and it originally housed rebels who fought against the British and the Irish Free State. Today, it is home to a major exhibition that explains the political and penal history of the prison. Other exhibits explain how the prison was later restored for the purpose of honouring the brave souls who fought for Irish independence. A tour of the prison includes an audio ‾ visual show.

The gaol is easily accessible by hire car. Simply follow the river west for about 3.5 km along the N4 motorway. Associates at car hire agencies in Dublin can help you customise your tour, providing maps of the regions and a list of attractions in the area. They can also suggest inns and hotels where you can rest along the way.

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