Tuesday 17 July 2018

'Basic' bathroom at Áras too rough for Spanish royals

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia with President Paddy Hillery and wife Maeve at the Áras
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia with President Paddy Hillery and wife Maeve at the Áras

Áras an Uachtaráin was deemed unsuitable to accommodate the king and queen of Spain during a State visit to Ireland because of sagging floors, small rooms and a basic bathroom.

The revelation came as papers released in the 1987 State Archive showed Department of Foreign Affairs staff conducted a detailed review of all suitable properties that could accommodate King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.

The Italian president, Francesco Cossiga, was also scheduled to pay a State visit to Ireland in 1987.

A confidential memo of February 26, 1986, revealed the results of an assessment of grand Irish houses close to Dublin as requested by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The properties assessed included Áras an Uachtaráin, Farmleigh House, Luttrellstown and Straffan House.

In a detailed assessment of the various properties, Áras an Uachtaráin was pointed out to be largely unsuitable.

The Áras has a Queen Victoria suite but, of its five other bedrooms, "the use of the largest of these would seem to be in doubt because the floor is sagging badly," the assessment said.

One bathroom was described as "basic" while other rooms were described as very small.

Irish Independent

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