Material and Intangible Interventions as Future

Making Heritage at Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin


  • Laura McAtackney Aarhus University



heritage, graffiti, Ireland, prison, restoration


This paper uses archaeological studies of political imprisonment in Ireland to show how (im)material interventions at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin are central to understanding evolving identity and memory in post-partition Ireland. This heritage prison is not only an “icon” of historical struggle, it is a material entity where archaeological methodologies can help to uncover the past realities of imprisonment. Furthermore, it is a highly political place in the present where conflict continues regarding who “wins” the peace in the realm of public memory. This paper argues that archaeological approaches to a transitional heritage site are ideally placed to illuminate not only experiences of its functional past but also its evolving relationship with contemporary society as a form of future-making.


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Author Biography

Laura McAtackney, Aarhus University

Laura McAtackney is an Associate Professor in Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. She is the author of An Archaeology of the Troubles: The Dark Heritage of Long Kesh / Maze (2014).


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How to Cite

McAtackney, L. (2019). Material and Intangible Interventions as Future: Making Heritage at Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 6(1), 120–135.