Friday, 30 June 2017

Chief Secretary's Lodge


THE CHIEF SECRETARY'S LODGE (Deerfield), Phoenix Park, Dublin, was originally built by Sir John Blaquiere, 1st Baron de Blaquiere, and became the Chief Secretary for Ireland's official residence in the late 18th century.

The Chief Secretary for Ireland, a position analogous to Prime Minister, had his office within Dublin Castle.

The office was abrogated when Éire (as it was then called) seceded from the United Kingdom in 1922.

It is now the official residence of the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland.

Colonel John Blaquiere came to Ireland as Chief Secretary to the Viceroy, Lord Harcourt, in 1772.

Standard of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland

Like Viceregal Lodge (Áras an Uachtaráin) across the road (former residence of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), the Chief Secretary's Lodge, or Deerfield as it is now called, is surrounded by its own sixty-acre park, with wonderful views of the Dublin mountains.

The Lodge, which cost £8,000 to build, comprises two storeys with two projecting bowed ends facing southwards.

There were two principal reception rooms.

A commodious staircase hall is bedecked with American flags and presidential portraits.

The brilliant white porte-cochère admits visitors under a large bust of President Lincoln.

The architect of the Lodge, with its immaculate walled gardens, fruit trees and glass-houses, is unknown.


In 1784, the house was acquired by HM Government as an official residence for the Chief Secretary for Ireland, analogous with the office of prime minister.

Illustrious occupants have included the Hon Sir Arthur Wellesley (1st Duke of Wellington), Lord Castlereagh, Sir Robert Peel and Lord Randolph Churchill.

Sir Winston Churchill, as a small boy, roamed the gardens and woods and took great delight in riding up and down the paths in his donkey and cart.

In 1927, the United States sent its first envoy, Fred Sterling, to the newly-formed Irish Free State.

Mrs Sterling noticed the empty house whilst walking in Phoenix Park, told her husband she'd found the ideal residence for him, and Deerfield has remained a part of American soil ever since.

First published in September, 2011.

No comments :