A Guide To Visiting The Irish Museum Of Modern Art (IMMA Dublin)

Irish Museum of Modern Art
Photos via Shutterstock

the Irish Museum Of Modern Art (IMMA Dublin) is arguably one of the most overlooked places to visit in Dublin.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art is an essential place to visit if you want to take part in an appreciation of recent artistic developments.

The institution houses more than 3,500 artworks by Irish and international artists and, like many museums in Dublin, hosts regular exhibitions.

Below, you’ll find everything from the opening hours for IMMA Dublin to what to expect from a visit. Dive on in!

Some quick need-to-knows about the Irish Museum Of Modern Art

Although a visit to the Irish Museum Of Modern Art is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You will find IMMA Dublin in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham inside the finest 17th-century building in Ireland. It’s a 15-minute walk from Kilmainham Gaol, the Guinness Storehouse and the Phoenix Park.

2. It’s foundation

James Butler, Duke of Ormonde and Viceroy to Charles II founded the Royal Hospital in 1684 as a home for retired soldiers and it continued in this function for almost 250 years after which it was handed to the Irish Free State.

3. Admission, tours + opening hours

Admission and tours are free. Guided tours that provide a general introduction to the Irish Museum of Modern Art take place on Wednesdays at 13:15 and Saturdays and Sundays at 14:30. The IMMA opening hours are:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday – Friday: 11:30 to 17:30
  • Saturday: 10:00 to 17:30
  • Sunday 12:00 to 17:30

4. Some exhibitions are ticketed 

It’s worth noting that, although it’s free to enter IMMA Dublin, some of the exhibitions are ticketed. It’ll be clear what areas you need to pay to access, both online and when you arrive.

5. A fine spot to spend an afternoon

The IMMA gardens and grounds are gorgeous and there’s plenty to explore. The Royal Hospital of Kilmainham is the oldest classical building in Ireland. Its design was based on Les Invalides in Paris, with a formal facade and a large courtyard. The beautiful IMMA gardens were originally used to grow plants and flowers for medicinal purposes and are well worth exploring.

6. The cafe

The Flying Dog Café can be found in the courtyard and is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 6pm Sundays. It’s outdoors, so you can enjoy your tea/coffee and cake in the sumptuous surroundings of the museum.

7. IMMA parking

There’s a decent bit of parking at IMMA Dublin, and it’s reasonably well priced at just €3 for the first three hours. The car park is here on Google Maps.

About the Irish Museum of Modern Art

imma dublin
Photo by Gabriela Insuratelu (Shutterstock)

IMMA Dublin offers the visitor a wide variety of art and a changing exhibitions programme that regularly includes work from its own collection and the museum’s education and community department. The overall aim is to create widespread access to art and artists, and to foster awareness, understanding and involvement in the visual arts.

It was officially opened in 1991 and its emphasis is on artwork produced post 1940. Significant artists’ work featured include that of Marina Abramović, Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Sol LeWitt, Louis le Brocquy, Matt Mullican, Roy Lichtenstein and Lawrence Weiner.

The Hennessy Art Fund allows the museum to collect the work of emerging artists, including Kevin Atherton, David Beattie, Rhona Byrne and Dennis McNulty in 2016; and Ciarán Murphy, Maireád McClean, Mark Garry and Yuri Pattison in 2017.

Members of the visitor engagement team are easy to find as you tour the museum and they have specialist knowledge of particular artists and exhibitions.

Things to see and do at IMMA Dublin

One of the reasons that a visit to to the IMMA gardens and the museum itself is so popular is due to the amount of things there are to see and do.

Below, you’ll find info on everything from the beautiful building, the exhibitions, the IMMA gardens and much more.

1. Admire ‘The oldest classical building in Ireland’

the Irish Museum Of Modern Art building
Photo by Gabriela Insuratelu (Shutterstock)

The Irish Museum of Modern Art is situated in Royal Hospital Kilmainham. This building is modelled on Les Invalides in Paris and it has a central courtyard that is surrounded by long corridors that have numerous interconnected rooms.

It’s an almost baroque building which provides a neat contrast to the modern art within its walls. The original stables have been restored, extended and now serve as artists’ studios.

2. Take a tour of the extensive grounds

Irish Museum of Modern Art
Photos via Shutterstock

If you want to see the grounds in all their glory, why not take an historical guided tour of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, which can be undertaken all year round.

Tours of the grounds and gardens are free of charge, but booking is essential if you want to guarantee a spot.

3. See the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art

The museum’s national collection features more than 3,500 artworks by Irish and international artists, with important contemporary works added every year.

You can take a guided tour of the collection. Lucian Freud’s pictures are among those on display.

4. Take a guided tour of the exhibitions

imma dublin
Photo by Gabriela Insuratelu (Shutterstock)

The informal weekly tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays offer an informative guide to the artwork in the exhibitions.

The What’s On section of the website offers up-to-date information about workshops and other activities that might disrupt the regular schedule, so is worth checking in advance. 

Places to visit after you’ve explored the IMMA exhibitions

IMMA is a stone’s throw from many of the most popular places to visit in Dublin, from art galleries to historical sites.

Below, you’ll find places to visit in Dublin a short distance from IMMA Dublin, like Kilmainham Gaol and the Guinness Storehouse.

1. Kilmainham Gaol (15-minute walk)

kilmainham gaol history
Photos via Shutterstock

Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 and served as the new county gaol for the Dublin area. It closed in 1924. Over the years, many famous Republican figures were held here, including Robert Emmet, Anne Devlin and Charles Stewart Parnell. The tour here is outstanding.

2. Phoenix Park (15-minute walk)

phoenix park walks
Photos via Shutterstock

Known as the place where Dublin goes to breathe, the Phoenix Park is Europe’s largest enclosed urban park. It contains a number of stately homes, including the official residence of the President of Ireland, Farmleigh House and Dublin Zoo.

3. Guinness Storehouse (15-minute walk)

guinness storehouse dublin
Courtesy Diageo Ireland Brand Homes via Ireland’s Content Pool

Find out about Ireland’s famous beer at the Guinness Storehouse. You can explore the story Guinness across the seven floors of this iconic building, before taking in the 360 views of Dublin city from the Gravity Bar up top. The Guinness Brewery tour includes beer sampling of limited edition brews and a guided beer and food tasting.

FAQs about visiting the Irish Museum Of Modern Art

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the IMMA opening hours?’ to ‘What’s on this weekend?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is there parking at IMMA?

Yes, the IMMA parking facility is huge and it’s reasonably priced at €3 for the first three hours.

What are the IMMA opening hours?

IMMA is open 6 days per week (closed on Monday). The IMMA opening hours are: Tuesday – Friday: 11:30 to 17:30 Saturday: 10:00 to 17:30 Sunday 12:00 to 17:30

Emma Baird is a lifestyle editor and novelist. She has worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years, and loves animals, the countryside and lingering in a great pub for the food and the craic.

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