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Sunday 21 October 2018

Stately vehicle of seven Irish presidents rolls into its 60s

The presidential Rolls-Royce, which has been used by seven Irish heads of state, celebrates its 60th birthday this year.

The vehicle, manufactured in 1948, is used for ceremonial occasions such as the inauguration of presidents and the National Day of Commemoration.

It is maintained by the Barrack Master at Garda Siochana HQ, close to Aras an Uachtarain in the Phoenix Park.

Presidents who have used the stately Rolls-Royce include Eamon de Valera, Erskine Childers, Cearbhall O Dalaigh, Patrick Hillery and Mary Robinson.

Mr de Valera used the vehicle almost on a daily basis in the 1960s, and it featured in events marking the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

On state occasions, the vehicle is usually escorted by 29 motorcycles drawn from the Second Cavalry Squadron, based in Dublin's Cathal Brugha Barracks.

"The motorcycles must convey the Rolls-Royce with 'dignity and bearing' according to Defence Forces regulations,'' a Defence Forces spokesman said.

The vehicle has a six-cylinder, 4.2 litre engine which was last overhauled in the late 1970s. The vehicle's paintwork was stripped and body panels and woodwork were also repaired at that time.

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