Although it ceased to be used as a prison in 1924, this remains the best-known Irish lock-up and one of the most fascinating buildings in the country. It was here that the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, along with many others, were executed. If you harbour an interest in the 1916 Rising or, indeed, any previous rebellions in Ireland from the 18th century onwards, you'll find Kilmainham Gaol an awful lot more informative and evocative than the National Museum.
Various multimedia displays documenting the atrocious prison conditions of the past are grimly informative, but it is the lively guided tours that steal the show. Groups are led through the dank corridors, past bleak cells and into the highly evocative main hall (where some of the opening scenes of the original Italian Job were filmed). The sites of various executions, vigils, injustices and condemnations are conjured to vivid life, leaving you with a curious conflict of guilt and relief as you walk back out through the gates and into the free world.