The Irish President Michael D. Higgins seems to have a great job. He gets to travel, he gets to talk to famous and important people, he is (for the most part, until recently) very well liked. He even gets to go visit the Queen of England. The other day, while bicycling around Phoenix Park, a few friends and I decided that we would go and try to see the Irish president’s house. After rushing to the ticket stand (we were running a bit late), we successfully secured our spot and made our way to the house in dark blue vans marked with the traditional harp symbol.
Once inside, our tour guide informed us that the official name for the Irish President’s house is Áras an Uachtaráin. The house was built in 1751 and is situated in Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe. The house was originally built by the park ranger named Nathaniel Clements, but in 1752, the British Viceroys bought the house from Clements for 25,000 pounds.
While we were touring, we found out that the president actually lives and works in the house. We visited his study, of which you weren’t supposed to take photos, where there were personal trinkets and family pictures, as well as a large collection of books and files that all looked very important.
At the end of the tour, we were about to walk into the hall to leave and we were told that we would have to be delayed for a few moments—the President of Ireland was leaving the estate and we were only a room away from him! I was hoping that he would poke his head in and say hello, but that unfortunately didn’t happen.
Out in the hall, we saw the guest book, which contained Michelle and Barack Obama’s signature. On the front porch of the house, we met with a special guest—the President’s dogs! The house was beautiful and the tour was very informative. This is a must-see attraction of Dublin for sure.