Irish Radio Canada
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The Magazine Show - At Home and Abroad - Streams Daily at 8am & 1pm

It is also available in the archives section.
Nov 17th - 24th A Walking Tour of The Royal Hospital & Gardens Kilmainham provided by Paul O'Brien of the Office of Public Works.


The Royal Hospital Kilmainham is an iconic landmark. It was built in 1680 by royal command and predates its sister, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, by just two years. This is the oldest classical building in Ireland and was based on Les Invalides in Paris. Impressive, isn’t it?

When it was built, the hospital housed just 20 people although it was designed for 400 (at times through history it housed up to 2,500). In 1690, we began looking after army pensioners from the Battle Of The Boyne. Yes, we’re that old.

In 1922 the RHK was handed over to the Irish Free State and five years later the last pensioner was moved to Chelsea. It served as Garda Headquarters from 1930 to 1950 but fell into disrepair.

In 1980 Taoiseach Charles Haughey approved plans to renovate it at a cost of IR£3 million. It took four years – which is as long as it took to originally build it three centuries before.

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.

In 1991, the RHK became home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) which explains all of those stunning sculptures you’ll see around the hospital’s 48 acres.


Visit the Royal Hospital Kilmainham website

























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