Chief Secretary's LodgeEdit profile
The Chief Secretary's Lodge known since the 1970s as Deerfield, is the official residence of the United States Ambassador to Ireland. The Lodge is an 18th century building in the centre of the Phoenix Park in Dublin.History
It was originally built by Sir John Blaquiere, 1st Baron de Blaquiere then Chief Secretary for Ireland and taken over to become the Chief Secretary's Dublin residence in the late 18th century. Until the abolition of the post in 1922 it served as the official residence in Dublin of the Chief Secretary, the second-in-command in the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland's administration. The Chief Secretary played a role akin to a prime minister in the administration.Transition
Following the establishment of the Irish Free State a number of possible uses for the empty residences in the Phoenix Park were considered, from sale or demolition to turning the Chief Secretary's Lodge into a residence for the President of the Executive Council (prime minister). The latter suggestion, by the Minister for Finance, Ernest Blythe was rejected by then president W. T. Cosgrave. In the mid 1920s plans were made to move the Governor-General of the Irish Free State, Timothy Michael Healy, from his large and costly Viceregal Lodge official residence to the smaller Chief Secretary's Lodge across the road. Healy however expressed a wish that, if he was to move at all, it should be to his private home in Chapelizod. Believing that Healy's home was too exposed and a security risk, the Executive Council of the Irish Free State (cabinet) chose to leave Healy in the Viceregal Lodge. Instead the Chief Secretary's Lodge was rented on a ten year lease to the United States government, to become a combined ambassador's residence and embassy.
In January 1938, with the American lease nearly up, the Irish Government decided to make the Chief Secretary's Lodge the official residence of the President of Ireland. The decision was rescinded when a report from the Office of Public Works advised the Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera that the building was structurally unsound and would need expensive remedial work of the sort that could not be completed in time for the planned presidential entry into office in June. The President was later installed in the vacant Viceregal Lodge nearby. The building was re-rented to the United States government. The embassy was later moved to a purpose-built building, leaving the Lodge as the Ambassador's residence.Current developments
In the 1970s the building was given the name Deerfield by the wife of the then United States ambassador on account of the number of deer who roam in the open parkland around the mansion.
It has been periodically suggested that the building should become the residence of the Taoiseach. It remains for the moment, however, the residence of the US Ambassador. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton all stayed there during Irish visits. President Ronald Reagan stayed elsewhere.
In 2005 the idea of turning the Chief Secretary's Lodge into a taoiseach's residence seemed to have been abandoned when the Office of Public Works instead applied for planning permission to turn the former ranger's residence in the grounds of the state guest palace, Farmleigh, into a small taoiseach's residence instead.Footnotes