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Royal Hospital Kilmainham & Gardens

2019-11-17

Royal Hospital Kilmainham & Gardens

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.
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.

The Old Man’s House exhibition, created by the Office of Public Works, is an exhibition which tells the story of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham (RHK); one of the most iconic Dublin buildings and Ireland’s foremost example of fine 17th century architecture, now home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

The history of the Kilmainham site includes ancient burial grounds, early Christian monuments, a Viking settlement and a medieval monastery. The RHK was open as a retirement home and infirmary for nearly 250 years for generations of military veterans who lived and died there. The Old Man’s House explores the stories of these soldiers alongside those of the hospital staff, from the earliest beginnings, through to its restoration and the founding of IMMA. The exhibition is free and open Museum hours.

The beautiful gardens here were originally used for medicinal purposes but over time they became the private gardens of the Master of the RHK who was in charge of the British Army in Ireland at that time.

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