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Kilmainham facts for kids

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Kilmainham (In Irish: Cill Mhaighneann, "St Maighnenn's church") is an area of Dublin. It lies south of the River Liffey and west of the city centre in the Dublin 8 postal district.


In the Viking era, there was a monastery here. The monastery was home to the first Norse base (longphort) in Ireland.

In the 12th century the lands on the banks of the Liffey belonged to the Knights Templars. Strongbow built a castle for them, about a mile away from the Danish wall of old Dublin. Here the Templars lived for nearly a century and a half. In 1308, Edward II ruled that they were no longer allowed to practice their religion. Thirty members of the Templars were imprisoned in Dublin. Their lands and rights were given to the priory of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. They were there until the monasteries were closed in the 16th century.

The Manor of Kilmainham was a liberty. This means it had special rights. "The manor" was an area that included parts of James's Street and side-streets and went as far as Lucan and Chapelizod.

Until the time of Queen Elizabeth, the lord lieutenants used the manor of Kilmainham. In 1559, the earl of Sussex, found that the building at Kilmainham was damaged by a storm. The following year Elizabeth ordered that Dublin Castle be improved so the lord lieutenant could live there. From that time, Kilmainham was no longer used much.

Things to see

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham is in Kilmainham. It was built on the site where the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem had their priory in Dublin. It is now the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Nearby is also Kilmainham Gaol, where the executions of the leaders of the Easter Rising took place.

Kilmainham also has one of a small number of Viking era burial sites (Old Norse haugr meaning barrow or mound), within Dublin.

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