Aras an Uachtarain
Home to the Presidents of Ireland since 1922, Aras an Uachtarain has also slept Queen Victoria and George V. American presidents hosted here include John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, all of Irish descent.
In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to visit the Áras on the occasion of her state visit to Ireland. She was welcomed by then President McAleese, inspected a Guard of Honour, signed the visitors book and planted an Irish Oak sapling.
Some historians have claimed that the garden front portico of Áras an Uachtaráin (which can be seen by the public from the main road through Phoenix Park) was used as a model by Irish architect James Hoban who designed the White House.
In 1882, it was also the scene of the “Phoenix Park Murders.” Lord Frederick Cavendish, Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Thomas Burke, his Permanent Undersecretary, who were stabbed with surgical knives. Cavendish, married to the niece of British Prime Minister William Gladstone, had only arrived in Ireland that day.
The then Lord Lieutenant, Lord Spencer, described suddenly hearing screams, before witnessing a man running to the Lodge grounds shouting "Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke are killed." Responsibility for the assassinations was claimed by a small hitherto unheard-of Republican organisation called the Irish National Invincibles.
A large number of suspects were arrested and kept in prison through claims that they were connected with other crimes. By playing off one suspect against another, the investigators got several of them to reveal what they knew. Five men were convicted of the murders, and were hung in nearby Kilmainham Gaol, The others, thought to be the leaders, were sentenced to long prison terms.
Áras an Uachtaráin is open for free tours every Saturday, tickets available at the nearby Visitor’s Centre.