Susan outside the Aras an Uachtaran
Aras an Uachtaran, in the Phoenix Park is the house where the ninth Irish President Michael D Higgins, who was inaugurated on Friday in Dublin Castle, will live for his seven years in office.

Not many people know that you can actually visit Aras an Uachtaran yourself on Satrudays, unless it is being used for official state business, which means tours can be cancelled at short notice. While admission is free, tickets are limited to about 100 which are allocated on a first come first served basis from the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, close by at Ashtown Castle.

Visitors are then transferred by coach and given a guided tour of the state rooms and a short history of the building itself that used to be the Vice Regal Lodge when it was occupied by the then governing body of Englands various Lord Lieutenants, one of whom the Duke of Marlborough who was Winston Churchill’s father.
Elegant corridor at Aras an Uachtaran
It’s a wonderful opportunity to take a peak behind the familiar scenes being played out in the media today, to be part of a living history so to speak. The boardroom, where new governments are sworn into office, under the watchful eye of former presidents, whose portraits line the walls.

The dining room is laid out in crisp white linen with fresh flower arrangements (from the Aras’ own garden) mirrored under the crystal chandeliers.

The lounge used for meeting and greeting visiting dignitaries and royalty so familiar from news footage you almost feel at home, with a final glimpse into the President’s own office, which they are allowed to personalize for their term of office. In fact, I was amazed at how homely and lived in the Aras felt, with fresh garden flowers everywhere and polished brass fire irons beside the grand marble fireplaces set with peat briquettes waiting to be lit in welcome for the next guests, which could be you.

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