TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12
DUBLIN, DUNDALK AND BELFAST
Meeting with Irish President Mary McAleese
Drawing Room, Aras an Uachtarain (House of the President)
Aras an Uachtarain was built in 1751 and is located in Phoenix Park, opposite the U.S. Ambassador's residence. The original house was built by Park Ranger Nathaniel Clements. In 1767, after a decree stating the King's representative or Viceroy should reside in Ireland, the British Government bought the Park Ranger's Lodge from Robert Clements for 25,000 English Pounds. Lord Carlisle was the first Viceroy to reside in the Aras and in 1778 he initiated major improvements, carried out by Dublin master builder, Michael Stapleton.
In 1800, eighteen years after its establishment, the Irish Parliament voted itself out of existence. Although the status of Dublin was diminished by the Act of Union, the Lord Lieutenant, as the King's representative in Ireland, became a more prominent figure and the Viceregal Lodge became the center for fashionable society. In 1802, the Earl of Hardwicke ordered further improvements based on a design of Robert Woodgate. This included two new wings, slightly recessed from the original building, which now serve as the State Reception Room on one side and the President's study and private offices on the other. In 1815-1816 significant improvements were carried out on the front of the building, including the addition of a Portland stone portico of four Ionic columns.
King George IV became the first monarch to stay at the Viceregal Lodge when he visited in Ireland in 1821, followed by Queen Victoria in 1849. Throughout the nineteenth century, momentum for Irish self-government continued, sometimes violently as in 1882 when Lord Cavendish, the Chief Secretary, and Under Secretary Burke were set upon and stabbed to death within sight of the Viceregal Lodge.
With the birth of the new Irish Free State in 1921 and for much of the period of Home Rule that followed, the house served as the residence of the Governors General, the Crown's representatives. In 1937 the new Irish Constitution provided that Ireland would have a President and an official residence. The first choice was the Chief Secretary's Lodge, but the Irish Government had rented this house to the U.S. Government as an ambassadorial residence. Although the lease was about to expire, the Government decided that the U.S. Ambassador should continue to occupy the Chief Secretary's Lodge and chose to restore the Viceregal Lodge. The residence was given the name Aras an Uachtarain (House of the President).
The State Corridor, is lined with bronze busts of past Irish Presidents by Irish sculptors, mounted on pedestals of Connemara marble. The sequence starts with the most recent past President, Mary Robinson, and descends chronologically: Patrick Hillary, Cearbhall O'Dalaigh, Erskine Childers, Eamon DeValaera, Sean T. O'Ceallaigh, finishing with the first President, Douglas Hyde.
Former President Mary Robinson instituted the practice of keeping a light shining in the window of the Aras as a sign of welcome and a remembrance of the Irish Diaspora.
Meeting with Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Taoiseach Office (Government Buildings)
Originally part of a complex which housed the Royal College of Science, Government Buildings line the Western side of Upper Merrion Street. A major refurbishment in 1990 revealed detail of their outstanding Edwardian Baroque facades. Today, Government Buildings are the official offices of the Taoiseach (the Irish Prime Minister) of Ireland and house his staff, as well as other government offices. They serve as the ceremonial seat of the Irish Government.
The buildings were erected to accommodate the growing numbers of science students in the Dublin of the 1880’s. For more than thirty years, students had been taught in what was originally the Museum of Practical Geology, but was later reorganized as the College of Science. However, by 1897, the increased student body could no longer be contained in the college’s premises. The authorities decided to relocate to a site on Upper Merrion Street. The goal of the architects and city fathers was to create in Dublin a block of prestigious cultural and educational buildings similar to the cultural and scientific institutions recently erected in South Kensington, London.
The foundation stone was laid in 1904; the chief architect was Aston Webb. The main part of the building, including the domed centerpiece, was opened in 1911 by King George V. Wings to the north and south, intended for use by departments of the British administration in Ireland, were added over the next eleven years. But by 1922, when the wings were completed, Ireland had become an independent state. The offices were immediately occupied by the new government.
Internally, Webb used the latest advances in building technology of the day. Steel and reinforced concrete were used in the construction and electric power installed throughout, along with an electric lift and a turf-fired central heating system. All of the corridors were covered with marble tiles. Rooms were ventilated by means of a carefully devised system of fans.
Reception Hosted by Taoiseach
Construction on the building that houses the new Guinness Storehouse first began in 1902. The architect, Sir William Arrol, based his design on the red-brick and steel factories that were then being built in Chicago following the Great Fires. Part of the Guinness complex, the building was the site of the fermentation facilities from 1906 – 1982.
The new Guinness Storehouse opened in December 2000. The design of the current facility is intended to invoke thoughts of a pint of the "black stuff." From the ground floor to the sixth and on through the roof, a round atrium follows the silhouette of a pint glass.
The first few floors are occupied by the shop and "Visitors Experience" which follows the processes of brewing, cooperage, transportation and advertising of Guinness. The building also houses conference and meeting facilities, a training bar where barkeeps learn the art of the ‘perfect pour’, a public bar and café, an art gallery, and the rooftop Gravity Bar. Round, with glass walls, the Gravity Bar offers a 360-degree view of Dublin and the surrounding countryside.
The President will travel by helicopter to Dundalk.
Remarks to the People of Dundalk
Once marking the northernmost point of the Pale (the area controlled by the English during the Middle Ages), Dundalk lies midway between Dublin and Belfast and is 50miles north of Dublin.
Dundalk and the Boyne valley are steeped in Celtic mythology. The name Dundalk is derived from the gaelic term Dun Dealgan, which was the name of the Celtic warrior Cuchulain's fort. Dundalk has early Christian links evidenced by the fact that St. Brigit (450-525) was born at Faughart, two miles northwest of Dundalk. Dundalk has a rich tradition in brewing. In 1683 it is believed that there were 35 ale and beer breweries in the Dundalk area. Of the multitude of breweries that once were sprinkled around Dundalk, only two remain, Mcardle Moore and Harp breweries.
Today, Dundalk is highly industrialized and the administrative capital of Ireland’s smallest county, Louth. Since the 1995 ceasefire and the peace process, revitalization efforts have made the downtown area more attractive and have drawn foreign investment and enterprise. Currently Xerox, Heinz, and several major American corporations have facilities in Dundalk.
There are strong ties between Dundalk and its "sister-city" Newry (about 15 miles away) in Northern Ireland. Newry and Dundalk have a Joint Chamber of Commerce and the two cities frequently host events which highlight the ties between the North and South.
Some features of the town include the bell tower of a Franciscan monastery with Gothic windows (dating from the 13th century), the Gothic St Patrick’s Cathedral in the town center (built between 1835 and 1847 and modeled on the 15th century King’s College Chapel at Cambridge, England), the Market House, the Town Hall, the Courthouse (built in the 1820s), St. Nicholas Church on Market Square (which was rebuilt in 1707 to incorporate a 15th-century tower), and the Dundalk County Museum.
The President will travel by helicopter to Belfast, Northern Ireland.
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