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Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
Phone +353 1 6129900

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Discover IMMA through the lens of the ‘Ordinary Extraordinary’. Explore the architecture and history of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the home of IMMA, and use it as a starting point to discover a building of interest near you, where we will create our own architectural drawing focusing on the ordinary to reveal the extraordinary.

As our world shifts and changes around us so too our architecture adapts and changes to accommodate new priorities and functions. This was the case for the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, originally built as a retirement home for soldiers but now housing our national museum for Modern and Contemporary Art

Origins of Royal Hospital Kilmainham

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham (RHK), commissioned by James Butler, the 1st Duke of Ormond and Viceroy to King Charles II, was built between 1680 and 1684 as a retirement home for soldiers. It accommodated up to 250 former British soldiers, some of whom even fought in the Battle of the Boyne. The architect for the building was Sir William Robinson whose other notable works included St Marys Church and Marsh’s Library in Dublin. Based on Les Invalides in Paris, the RHK was the first example of classical architecture in Ireland. Some of the key architectural features include the arcaded colonnade in the courtyard, the clock tower, created in the 18th century by Thomas Burgh and stain glass windows designed by Alfred E. Child, mentor to renowned artist Harry Clarke.

Time to look!

Find a building of interest near you. This could be your own home or any structure that you feel has real character. Before we do any drawing take time to view the building. When we look closely the ordinary can become extraordinary. Look at the different textures on the surface and how various materials like stone or wood differ. Think about what marks you may need to make to recreate this. Think about the perspective of the building. What directions do the lines of the structure go? Follow our links below for more tips on perspective drawing.

Let’s draw

Once you feel you really understand the structure it’s time to get down to the drawing. Consider the composition before you start. Will what I want to draw fit on the page. Make some quick preliminary marks to get a rough outline. Be confident in your line and try to complete the line in one stroke. The braver the mark the cleaner the line will be. Practice the various mark making techniques we considered.

If you want to share outcomes of your drawings, make sure to use one of the following hashtags so we can see your art #IMMATeensArtProjects #IMMATeensatHome

Materials Needed

  • Paper. If you’re not using a sketchpad maybe bring a drawing board
  • Pens (Fineliner works best)
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Ruler
  • Watercolours if desired


Useful Links

  • Take a virtual tour of the North Wing of the RHK. Click here
  • Find further details of the RHK. Click here.
  • Learn about perspective drawing with this easy to follow video. Click here.
  • Follow these mark making techniques with this clip. Click here.

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.