Following the lead of our cab driver from the airport, we headed first to Kilmainham Gaol (jail) to learn the history of Ireland. It’s easy to see just how bad the conditions were in the former prison, where even those who committed the most minor of crimes (stealing a loaf of bread during the famine, for example) were kept between 1796 and 1924. But it is here where political prisoners were also kept, including the leaders of the Easter Rising. In an attempt to keep them from rebelling again, the English executed them, which resulted in a countrywide rebellion that eventually led to Ireland’s independence. Guided tours of the jail are provided daily, an art gallery with historical sculptures, painting and exhibits are on view.