Áras an Uachtaráin was once the Viceregal Lodge, the summer retreat of the British viceroy, whose main digs were in Dublin Castle. From what were never humble beginnings, the original 1751 country house was expanded several times, gradually accumulating splendor. Guided tours leave from the Phoenix Park Visitors Centre every Saturday. After an introductory historical film, a bus brings visitors to and from the house. The focus of the tour is the state reception rooms. The entire tour lasts about 1 hour (a little longer in summer, when the gardens are included on the itinerary, weather permitting). A strictly limited number of tickets are given out, on a first-come, first-served basis. The house may occasionally be closed for state events, so it’s wise to call ahead. Note: For security reasons, no backpacks, travel bags, strollers, cameras, or mobile phones are allowed on the tour.