Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)

The courtyard at IMMA

An ISI student studying English in Dublin who wants to see some culture should consider paying a visit to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)!

The courtyard at IMMA
The courtyard at IMMA

Brief History of IMMA

IMMA was first established by the Irish government in 1990, and subsequently opened by the then-Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey in May 1991, following the donation of his entire art collection by the art collector Gordon Lambert. It is located in a very interesting and historical part of Dublin, not far from Kilmainham Jail. The grounds of the gallery are situated on the former Royal Hospital of Kilmainham, established in 1684 as a home for retired and wounded soldiers.

The original stables are now used as artist’s studios and the gallery maintains a consistent artist-in-residence programme. The courtyard and the arcades are of great architectural interest, just as the grounds and the gardens are a delight to horticulturalists. The extensive grasslands also play host to many summer music festivals and concerts – for instance, Leonard Cohen gave three shows here in 2008, and a further four shows in 2012, to name just one of many musicians who have played here.

The gardens at IMMA
The gardens at IMMA

Exhibitions and events at IMMA

Many interesting exhibitions are held there, some permanent, some temporary. The art collection consists of some 3500 artworks by Irish and international artists alike. The focus is on modern artworks produced from the 1940s onwards. Some of the famous artists whose work is represented in this gallery include Louis le Brocquy and Marina Abramovic.

IMMA is dedicated to educating and engaging the public about art. It is keen to foster an interest and awareness of art in both the young and the old, and so many summer art classes for children and adults alike are held there. There is also an excellent coffee shop and restaurant on the grounds, as well as a well-stocked bookshop, so it’s easy to pass more than a few pleasant few hours here, either browsing or eating.

As of this year, IMMA is launching a largely outdoors programme from the spring to the autumn of 2021, including talks, tours and pop-up events. For more detailed information about upcoming events and exhibitions at IMMA, you may consult their hugely informative website as well as their frequently updated Twitter page!

So there you go – an ISI student who wants to take a break from studying English in Dublin and go see some culture can do no better than taking a trip to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham! It’s a vibrant place with a lot of interesting things to see and do. Give it a go this summer!

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