Thursday, 19 June 2014
Leinster House has been the seat of the Irish parliament since 1922.
So I made an early start for the 8am train from Belfast to Dublin, which arrived on time two hours later.
We walked in the glorious sunshine from Amiens Street to St Stephen's Green, were we sat outside the Cliff Townhouse and enjoyed coffee.
The city of Dublin never fails to impress one with its marvellous Georgian buildings and architecture.
Leinster House, which has been described as a ducal palace due to its grandeur and imposing presence, is at Kildare Street.
Kildare Street was named after the Earls of Kildare, afterwards Dukes of Leinster, the premier Dukes, Marquesses and Earls of Ireland.
I have already written at length about the FitzGeralds, Dukes of Leinster, and their County Kildare seat, Carton.
It was by far the grandest private residence in the Irish capital during the Georgian era.
Today there is little or no sign of the ducal trappings, no coronets, nor armorial bearings, nor anything to suggest that Leinster House was a ducal palace, other than its undoubted grandeur and history.
I was particularly interested in the former ball-room, now used as the senate chamber. I was captivated by the magnificent plasterwork of its ceiling.
The double staircase, too, which leads up to the ball-room, is impressive.
the former dining-room is now used as a meeting-room for senators.
We left via the back entrance, which passes through the Leinster Lawn, the former gardens of the House.
There is still what appears to be a steep ha-ha in middle of the garden, opposite the back entrance.
There's even a statue of Prince Albert positioned discreetly at the edge of the gardens.
WE LUNCHED at Hugo's, a wine-bar which is located in Merrion Row.
Many of us - there were seven in our party - had the hot duck wrap with salad and a basket of fries; some of us had the County Wexford strawberries and cream for dessert.
Following three bottles of wine, we were all in a rather jolly mood, fortified for the trip back to Northern Ireland.
Leinster arms courtesy of European Heraldry.