The garden as it is today is not an historical reconstruction of what may have existed here but rather a re-creation in the spirit of a Formal garden of the 17th and 18th centuries, as befitting the classical buildings it fronts.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art is housed in the 17th-century Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The Royal Hospital was founded in 1684 by James Butler, the Duke of Ormonde and Viceroy to Charles II, as a home for retired soldiers and continued in that use for almost 250 years. The Royal Hospital is a striking location for displaying modern art. Modelled on Les Invalides in Paris, it is arranged around a courtyard and the interior has long corridors running along series of modest interlocking rooms. The original stables have been restored, extended and converted into artists' studios, and the museum runs an artist-in-residence programme.