SARAH Slazenger of Powerscourt Estate was at Aras an Uachtarain recently to celebrate the publication of a new book on the history of Ireland's country houses.
Irish Country Houses: A Chronicle of Change from The Collins Press was presented to President Higgins by the author, David Hicks. Powerscourt House features prominently in the book.
Once symbols of wealth and power, many of Ireland's great country houses now lie in ruin. Others have been rescued, and Áras an Uachtaráin is one of these. Once the residence of the king's representative in Ireland, the founding of the Free State left the building in a precarious position and Éamon de Valera's government of the 1930s even planned to demolish it. The building was saved, however, and has now become a symbol of Irish sovereignty.
Áras an Uachtaráin is one of 24 historic houses and castles profiled in the book, Irish Country Houses: A Chronicle of Change, published by The Collins Press. The book features magnificent photos of the interior of the Áras back when it was the Viceregal Lodge. Irish Country Houses delves into the histories of these buildings and the conditions that led to the dissipation of the wealth that created them.