Irish Museum of Modern Art to be used as mortuary to cope with coronavirus pandemic

Museum will house a temporary structure in its grounds as the “country prepares Public Health facilities to deal with Covid-19”

The Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin © IMMA; Photo: Elena Quintana

A temporary mortuary will be built on the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin to help with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. IMMA announced last week that it had been “requested to facilitate the construction of a temporary mortuary” on its grounds as the “country prepares Public Health facilities to deal with Covid-19”.

The museum is housed in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, a former home for retired soldiers built in the 17th century with a large interior courtyard and extensive grounds, which The Art Newspaper understands will be used as the location for the temporary mortuary.

The news comes as mortuaries are being constructed across Europe, in churches, ices rinks, airplane hangars and on parkland, to cope with the increase in deaths from coronavirus.

Ireland has been on a nationwide lockdown since 28 March, which is due to last at least two weeks. As of 1 April, the country had 3,447 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 81 deaths. Dublin has the highest rate of confirmed cases. IMMA shut its doors to the public on 12 March and its grounds on 25 March.

The museum statement adds: “While this is, of course, a reminder of the seriousness of this situation, the dignity and solemn beauty of the grounds is appropriate. We think with great compassion and respect for the families of those who may need these facilities in the times to come.”