Strolling around the galleries and gardens at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon.
The museum is housed in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Built in the 17th century and originally a home for retired soldiers, it was modelled on Les Invalides in Paris and is simply breathtaking. Also on the Royal Hospital grounds is a formal garden, gorgeous for walks on a sunny day. So, really and truly, you have seen two works of art without even entering the museum!
IMMA is our national institution for modern and contemporary art and since its opening in 1991 it has established itself as a major national and international presence in the art world. There is a mixture of temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection, as well as a thriving education and community program. The temporary exhibitions run for three to four months at a time, and can be originated by IMMA or in conjunction with other international galleries. IMMA also houses our National Collection, with over 3,500 works by Irish and international artists, displayed on a rotating basis. The fruits of the education and community department’s labour is also often on display.
Most importantly, make sure to give yourself plenty of time when you visit IMMA. Between the different exhibitions, the stunning building and grounds, the great little gift shop and the Itsa Cafe, you could happily get lost there for an entire day. Lucky you!