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Ireland travel tips: Dublin activities (part two - Kilmainham Gaol)

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A trip to the Republic of Ireland isn’t complete without visiting its capital, Dublin. The largest city in the country, it would be easy to spend an entire trip here. However, if travel plans are tight, it is still possible to glean an understanding of this fascinating city in just a day or two. This series will present a variety of options to make the most out of a short trip to Dublin.

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Tip #2: Find your rebel spirit...

The Republic of Ireland is well-known for rebellion, and Dublin is no exception. The battleground of several revolutions, most notably the 1916 Easter Rising, Dublin is a perfect representation of the war-torn heart and soul of Ireland. Historic monuments dot the city, in parks and along urban streets, but the most in-depth understanding of Dublin’s part in Ireland’s revolutions can be found at Kilmainham Gaol. This gaol was where numerous Irish nationalists were taken prisoner and executed. Since its closure, it has been turned into a museum.

Split into two main sections, the prison first contains a three story museum with hundreds of artifacts that bring the revolution to life. The exhibit discusses the tense politics that have existed in Ireland as it was tugged between British rule and independence. Several of the artifacts on display are truly chilling, such as a letter written by an 18-year-old nationalist to his mother the day before he was hanged for treason.

The second portion is the gaol itself. Guided tours take visitors through the walkways and the cells that held prisoners over the years. The tour guide imparts personal histories and stories of some of these rebels, bringing them to life. The gaol is a bit of a trip away from the city centre, so using public transportation is advised.

Despite its distance, it is well worth the trip and discusses a truly essential aspect of Irish history. Entrance to the gaol is €6.00 for adults and €2.00 for children (about $8.00 and $3.00 respectively) with tours scheduled throughout the day.

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