The Public Realm at Kilmainham Gaol

A joint Dublin City Council, Office of Public Works project is underway to improve the public realm and visitor experience at Kilmainham Gaol.   This work will significantly expand the pedestrian facilities at this historic location, incorporating the renovated courthouse and creating a connection with the nearby Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.  Dublin City Council will deliver the public realm improvements while the OPW have responsibility for the national monument that is Kilmainham Gaol and for the adjoining Kilmainham Courthouse.  City Architects are part of Dublin City Council’s multidisciplinary team for this project, working with their counterparts in the OPW in the delivery of the overall project.

Kilmainham Gaol is one of the most popular heritage attractions in the state, attracting over 310,000 visitors a year.  As 2016 approaches, work is being undertaken to enhance and expand the facilities of the Gaol.  This will include the renovation of the adjacent 19th Century courthouse.   This building will be adapted to provide ancillary curatorial, exhibition, research, and welfare facilities.  This is to deal with the expected increase in visitors to this historic location.  In addition,  the recently reopened Irish Museum of Modern Art, located in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, attracts over 400,000 visitors each year from Ireland and abroad.

With this in mind, the aim of this project has been to improve the pedestrian experience connecting these popular attractions.  Measures will be introduced to reduce and calm traffic along the Inchicore Road, allowing the pavement in front of the Gaol to be expanded and upgraded to create a new pedestrian plaza.  This new public space will provide appropriate outdoor facilities for both visitors and residents of the area and also provide a link to the grounds of IMMA.

This work builds on previous plans for the area which received approval in 2008.  However these plans are now being reassessed to comply with the requirements of the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets.  The revised plans will also include the provision of 40 Dublin Bikes for this space.  The scheme will address issues such as the design of street furniture, the lighting of both street and buildings, and the retention of existing trees on Inchicore Road.  

These plans form part of a wider strategy for the 2016 commemorations of the Easter Rising.  Work on the courthouse is currently underway.  It is expected that all work will be complete by the end of 2015.

Aerial photo taken from maps.bing.com