Dublin has had its share of troubles over the years but it has still managed to retain some of its architectural heritage. Among this is Europe's largest public park, the Phoenix Park. The name is derived from the Irish Fionn Uisce, meaning clear water, and it is home to Dublin's Zoo and the official residence of the President of Ireland, Áras and Uachtarán. In addition to these, it also plays host to the People's Garden, the Wellington Testimonial, the American Ambassador's residence, the Papal Cross and the Papal Nunciature. In 1979, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass in the park and the Papal Cross dates from then.
Of these, it is Áras and Uachtarán that you see above. This dates from 1751 when it was built by Nathaniel Clements, who was then deputy Paymaster General and park ranger. In 1815, it was expanded by Francis Johnston to become the viceregal residence, something that involved plastering over red brick and adding two new wings. In 1840, Decimus Burton added the formal garden. Upon formation of the Irish Free State, the building became home to the Governor General before becoming home to the President of Ireland in 1938.