Formal Garden View IMMA 1

Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Contact Details


Military Road
Dublin 8
D08 FW31


Telephone No:  +353 87 342 2399

Mary Condon (Head Gardener)

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Opening Hours

Opening Times for both The Royal Hospital Kilmainham and Gardens:

January - December

Monday: Art Museum Closed , Old Man's House exhibition, grounds and gardens open 10.00am - 5.00pm

Tuesday - Saturday:
10.00am - 5.00pm

Sunday and Bank Holidays:

12noon - 5.00pm

Pre-booked Heritage Tours of the following available:

Bully's Acre - Dublin's Oldest Cemetery

Royal Hospital Kilmainham Grounds and Formal Gardens

Please email

Admission Fees

Free except for occasional special exhibitions
Old Man's House Exhibition is Free admission


Facilities include gardens, bookshop, café, wheelchair access and cloakroom.

Parking €2 for the first 3 hrs, €2/hour thereafter.

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham stands on the site of the 7th century Early Christian settlement of Cill Maighneann, from which the area of Kilmainham derives its name. 

In 1174, Strongbow developed the site replacing the Christian settlement with a medieval hospital and monastery of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers). 

With the dissolution of the monasteries under the rule of Henry VIII between 1536 and 1541, the settlement was closed and the lands remained vacant until 1680. 

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham was established and built between 1680 and 1684 on a 60 acre site granted by King Charles II at the instigation of James Butler, First Duke of Ormond.

Inspired by 'Les Invalides' in Paris, France, then recently opened as Louis XIV's home for his army pensioners, Ormond obtained a charter from King Charles to construct a similar type of building at Kilmainham.

A retirement home for old soldiers rather than a hospital,  the building opened its doors in 1684 and for the next 243 years, thousands of army pensioners would live out their final days within its walls. 

Classical in design and Continental in layout, leading architects such as William Robinson, Thomas Burgh and Francis Johnson worked on the building making the Royal Hospital not only a building of distinction, but the starting point of Dublin's development into a city of European standing. 

In the 19th century, the military significance of this building was greatly enhanced when it became the residence and headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the British army in Ireland. 

The Royal Hospital remained an old soldier's home until 1927 when it was finally handed over to the newly established Irish Free State Government, where it served a number of purposes in the decades that followed. 

The building underwent extensive restoration by the Office of Public Works in the 1980s and today this magnificent 17th century building has been restored to its former glory. 

Today, the Office of Public Works retells the story of this magnificent building through its 'Old Man's House,' Exhibition. Discover the history behind the North Range, the Formal Gardens, the Meadow and Dublin's Oldest graveyard, Bully's Acre, and relive the past. Located on the ground floor of the West Wing, the exhibition enables you to enter this window into the past and lets you discover the lives of those who once worked and  resided within its walls. 

Under the care of the Office of Public Works, the building currently houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Check out their website for further information and current exhibitions/events.


By Luas:   Red line to Heuston Station (8 minutes walk via Military Road.)

By Bus:     Buses to Hueston Station (8 minutes walk via Military Rd): 145, 79 and 79a from Aston Quay.  Buses to James Street (8 minutes walk via steps to Bow Lane onto Irwin Street and Military Road): 13, 40, 123 from O'Connell Street and Dame Street.

By Car:     10 minutes drive from city centre.  Paid car parking -  €2 for the first 3 hrs, €2/hour thereafter.

On Foot:   Approx. 30 to 40 minutes from the city centre.

By Train:   8 minutes walk from Heuston Station.

Guided Tours:  Tours of the North Range and Bully's Acre, Dublin's oldest cemetery, available on request 

Literature: History booklet of the building and grounds available to purchase in the bookshop

Seasonal Events:  Please check in advance using contact details listed above

Photography / Video allowed:  Yes, for exterior of building.  Permission must be sought to photograph exhibitions.

Additional Information:
Audio Visual Presentation: Yes - Old Man's house Exhibition