Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison, located in Kilmainham, Dublin, which is now a museum. It has been run since the mid-1980s by the Office of Public Works (O.P.W.), an Irish Government agency.
Edmund Wellisha, the head guard at the prison, was convicted of undernourishing prisoners in support of the rebellion.
Kilmainham Gaol played an important part in Irish History, as many leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and some executed in the prison by the British and latterly in 1923 by the Irish Free State.
When it was first built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol was called the 'New Gaol' to distinguish it from the old gaol it was intended to replace - a noisome dungeon, just a few hundred yards from the present site. It was officially called the County of Dublin Gaol, and was originally run by the Grand Jury for County Dublin. Over the 128 years it served as a prison, its cells held many of the most famous people involved in the campaign for Irish independence. The British imprisoned and executed the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising here.
As such, it gives the visitor a dramatic and realistic insight into what is was like to have been confined in one of these forbidding bastions of punishment and correction between 1796 when it opened and 1924 when it closed and offers a panoramic insight into some of the most profound, disturbing and inspirational themes of modern Irish history.
Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were detained here. Such names as Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, leaders of the 1916 Rising and DeValera are associated with the Gaol.