One of the most important 17th-century buildings in Ireland, the Royal Hospital was designed by Sir William Robinson in 1684 to serve as a nursing home for retired soldiers, and, famously, he modelled it on Les Invalides in Paris. It was founded by James Butler, Duke of Ormonde and Viceroy to King Charles II. In 1991 the place was reopened in the form of this modern art museum, with superb exhibition spaces distributed around its peaceful square.
The displays are usually temporary shows, combined with a selection from a small permanent collection - a recent highlight was Carlos Amorales' mesmerising mix of haunting imagery and evocative piano music, Dark Mirror. On the ground floor, the Heritage section provides some fascinating and (in the case of the Gallipoli accounts) occasionally horrifying background on the Royal Hospital and the pensioners who lived there. The grounds include a beautifully restored baroque formal garden, as well as Bully's Acre (one of the city's largest cemeteries, containing ancient burial sites and a military graveyard) and 19th-century stable buildings.