Very early on in my stint in Washington, I was invited to a function one evening in the residence of the Irish ambassador.
The Covid-19 vaccination programme had been under way for several months and the city was tentatively beginning to reopen.
However, the streets were still largely empty and as darkness fell over the large properties in the salubrious Kalorama area, it took a while to find the redbrick house with the distinctive half circle of pillars surrounding the door with the official harp.
The residence is not just the home of Ireland’s top diplomat in the United States. It is also used for functions and dinners.
About a year ago the Department of Foreign Affairs decided to lease a bigger building nearby which could be used for larger events. There were, for example, several hundred people on the premises last St Patrick’s Day.
Last week a colleague sent me an advertisement for an estate agent which confirmed the Government had decided to sell the former Washington residence.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it had been decided to dispose of the property at 2244 S Street “following a review of its property footprint”.
It has also been reported that a health and safety audit identified fire risks and other issues.
The former residence has been owned by the Irish State since 1965.
But as Dan Mulhall, the former Irish ambassador in Washington – who is now based at Harvard University – told me during the week, it had a storied history both before and after. It also had some quite interesting neighbours.
He said it was constructed originally in 1924 for a member