Coordinates: 53°20′35″N 6°19′17″W / 53.3431°N 6.3215°W / 53.3431; -6.3215
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Irish: Cill Mhaighneann
Inner suburb
Clockwise from top: The gardens at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham; Heuston South Quarter; the Irish Museum of Modern Art at Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Clockwise from top: The gardens at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham; Heuston South Quarter; the Irish Museum of Modern Art at Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Kilmainham is located in Dublin
Location in Dublin
Kilmainham is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°20′35″N 6°19′17″W / 53.3431°N 6.3215°W / 53.3431; -6.3215
 • Dáil constituencyDublin South-Central
 • Local authorityDublin City Council

Kilmainham (Irish: Cill Mhaighneann, meaning "St Maighneann's church") is a south inner suburb of Dublin, Ireland, south of the River Liffey and west of the city centre. It is in the city's Dublin 8 postal district. The area was once known as Kilmanum.


In the Viking era, the monastery was home to the first Norse base (longphort) in Ireland.[1] The Kilmainham Brooch, a late 8th- or early 9th-century Celtic brooch of the "penannular" type (i.e. its ring does not fully close or is incomplete) was unearthed in an 18th-century excavation of a Viking burial place in Kilmainham,

In the 12th century, the lands on the banks of the Liffey were granted to the Knights Hospitaller.[2] Strongbow erected for them a castle about 2 kilometres or 1 mile distant from the Danish wall of old Dublin; and Hugh Tyrrel, first Baron Castleknock, granted them part of the lands which now form the Phoenix Park. The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem remained in possession of the land until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century.[3]

Until the time of Queen Elizabeth, when Dublin Castle became the centre of English power, the Lord Lieutenants often held court at the manor of Kilmainham. In 1559, Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, on being again appointed Lord Lieutenant, found that the building at Kilmainham had been damaged by a storm, and had to hold court at the palace of St. Sepulchre. The following year Elizabeth ordered that Dublin Castle be upgraded to enable the Lord Lieutenant to reside there, and Kilmainham fell out of favour.[3]

The Manor of Kilmainham formed a liberty outside the jurisdiction of the city of Dublin, with its own rights and privileges. The manor took in parts of James's Street and side streets and stretched as far as Lucan and Chapelizod.[4] After the Reformation, former lords (or chairmen, as they were later called) of this manor included Lord Cloncurry and Sir Edward Newenham. John "Bully" Egan, from Charleville, County Cork, was chairman from 1790 to 1800. These manorial rights were abolished after the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act 1840, and much of the area was included within the city.

The portion still outside the city in the latter part of the nineteenth century was within the township of New Kilmainham, a municipality governed by town commissioners, first under the Towns Improvement (Ireland) Act 1854 and then under a local act, the New Kilmainham Township Act 1868.[5] From 1868, New Kilmainham comprised the townlands of Kilmainham, Goldenbridge North, Inchicore North, Inchicore South, and Butchers Arms. Its total area was 580 acres (230 ha) and the population was 5,391 in 1881 and 6,519 in 1891.[6] It became an urban district under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898.[7] In 1900, the urban district was abolished and the area was transferred from the county into the jurisdiction of the city of Dublin as the New Kilmainham ward.[8][9]

Local attractions[edit]

Interior of Kilmainham Gaol

The area is best known for Royal Hospital Kilmainham, constructed on the site where the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem had their priory in Dublin. It now houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The Richmond Tower marks the junction between the formal pedestrianised avenue leading to the Royal Hospital, and the South Circular Road. Nearby is Kilmainham Gaol, where the executions of the leaders of the Easter Rising took place.

Kilmainham holds one of a small number of Viking era burial sites (Old Norse haugr meaning barrow or mound), within Dublin, others including Bully's Acre and where College Green is now located.

Railway station[edit]

The Dublin Heuston railway station, one of Dublin's three main railway stations, is nearby.

Notable people[edit]

Former or current residents of the town have included:


  1. ^ Halsall, Guy (2003). Warfare and Society in the Barbarian West, 450–900. London: Routledge. p. 156.
  2. ^ McNeill, Charles (1924). "The Hospitallers at Kilmainham and Their Guests". The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 14 (1): 15–30. ISSN 0035-9106. JSTOR 25513314.
  3. ^ a b Walter Harris: The History and Antiquities of the City of Dublin
  4. ^ D'Alton (1838). History of the County Dublin. p. 301.
  5. ^ "New Kilmainham Township Act 1868 [31 & 32 Vict. c. cx]". The local [and personal] acts passed in the thirty-first and thirty-second years of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria (PDF). Eyre and Spottiswoode. 13 July 1868. pp. 1521–36. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  6. ^ "I. Area, houses, and population; Table V: Area, houses, and population of parliamentary divisions, municipal boroughs, and of towns of 2,000 inhabitants and upwards, together with the number of electors in each parliamentary division in 1891". Census of Ireland 1891; Vol.I: Leinster; No.2: Dublin. Command papers. Vol. C.6515–I. 1892. p. 73. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  7. ^ Clancy, John Joseph (1899). A handbook of local government in Ireland: containing an explanatory introduction to the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898: together with the text of the act, the orders in Council, and the rules made thereunder relating to county council, rural district council, and guardian's elections: with an index. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker. p. 427.
  8. ^ Dublin Corporation Act 1900 [63 & 64 Vict., ch. cclxiv]
  9. ^ Ó Maitiú, Séamas (2003). Dublin's Suburban Towns, 1834–1930: Governing Clontarf, Drumcondra, Dalkey, Killiney, Kilmainham, Pembroke, Kingstown, Blackrock, Rathmines, and Rathgar. Four Courts Press.
  10. ^ Hayden, Jackie (11 December 2008). "At Home with Katherine Lynch". Hot Press. Retrieved 11 December 2008.

External links[edit]