If you are the kind of person that prefers to be intrigued and intellectually challenged by art, you cannot afford to miss out on The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin, Ireland. While not everybody can claim to have a fancy for contemporary art, those that do will find this trip worth their while. Established in 1990 by the Government of Ireland, The Irish Museum of Modern Art was meant to be a successor to the highly popular and well-reputed Metropolitan Gallery of Modern Art, the foundation of which is credited to Sir Hugh Lane in the late nineteenth century. Counted among the leading art museums of the nation, IMMA features contemporary as well as abstract art through its permanent and changing exhibitions. Among the notables displayed in the museum are Tony O'Malley, Rebecca Horn, Marina Abramovic, Stephan Balkenhol, and Damien Hirst. The best way to visit the museum is to sign up for one of the guided tours that are conducted by museum mediators. The timings for these tours are fixed – Tuesday to Friday: 10:00 AM, 11:45 AM, 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM with the exception of Wednesdays when there is no tour at 10:00 AM. The tours, free of cost and lasting 45 minutes each need to be booked at least 3 weeks in advance. Participants are allowed to carry clipboards, sketchbooks, paper, and dry materials with them. Children or school groups’ are to be accompanied by at least one adult at all times throughout the tour. Interesting as the art display is, the building that houses the museum has a charming history of its own. This stunning example of 17th-century architecture was formally the Royal Hospital Kilmainmham. It was founded in 1684 by Sir William Robinson, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to King Charles II. Designed as a sanctuary and place of comfort for retired soldiers, the hospital was in function for nearly two and a half centuries before it was closed down. In 1984, the Government of Ireland restored the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and seven years later it opened its doors to the general public in its new avatar as the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Although primarily targeted towards contemporary art lovers, IMMA also attracts people who wish to revel in the old-age magnificence of the place. In addition to a meadow and a formal garden, the grounds of the museum also include a medieval burial ground. Smitten by its picturesque beauty, several producers have used the museum ground as a backdrop for their films.
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