Richmond Tower, Kilmainham Hospital

I always direct tourists looking for Kilmainham Gaol to take the more scenic route via the historic grounds of the old Royal Hospital. At the western entrance across from Kilmainham courthouse and gaol stands the impressive entrance, Richmond Tower. This structure was initially stationed at the foot of Watling Street bridge(or Rory O’More bridge,  Victoria Bridge, Eucharist Bridge, Congress bridge, Bloody bridge etc., take your pick!). Built in 1812 and designed by the architect Francis Johnston(1760-1829), it remained at the foot of Watling Street until the opening of Kingsbridge(Heuston) station and the southern railway in 1846. It was decided that due to increased traffic to remove the bridge to its present location at the expense of the railway. The tower includes the coat of arms of the Earl of Richmond and the Earl of Harrington but there was a curious discovery of another set of armoreal bearings! The architect Johnston had secretly incorporated his own family coat of arms behind a wooden box that was painted in colour to match, in the hope that in time they would be revealed as the wood would eventually rot. The Royal Hospital immediately requested a coat of arms promised to them by Sir William Betham(Ulster King-at-arms) and these were in place from 1847.



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One response to “Richmond Tower, Kilmainham Hospital

  1. Christine

    Loved walking thru there on Sundays as a child with my Dad and siblings as we came from the James’s Street end up to the Inchicore end to visit my Granny who lived beside Kilmainham Jail.

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